Omus’s Weblog

Politics, Trekking, Environment & Personal

COVID 19-Corona Virus… AFTERMATH March 30, 2020

As I start to write this blog, China is returning to Normal, after battling for months with Corona Virus, while the whole world is still struggling to cope with this yet un-treatable disease. As I am tapping my fingers on the keypad, thoughts are flooding my mind and want to flow out from my fingers to the keypad & to this blog. This event of 2020, will go down in history books as a turning point, a point: as big as world wars of 20th century. When the experts were expecting cyber war as WW-III, it came out from an unexpected corner of Biological-war.

How will India cope with this? As I am writing, India is set to register it’s 1000th Corona Virus case. There is complete lock-down, no trains, no buses, no private vehicles on road. And as of now, this seems to be only handle to cope & fight Corona Virus. Govt is buying time through lock-down and delaying the volcanic eruption. The preparedness done by govt in this time will be tested in months of April & May. God knows what’s in store for India and tough time are ahead.

What will happen if USA/Europe type situation hits India? As I write, USA Corona Virus cases has sky-rocketed from 50,000 to 130,000 in just 4 days. And Europe seems to have given up, as Corona Positive cases and death cases are rising exponentially. And if USA, Europe type situation arises in India, then god save humanity. The scale of death will be something world has not seen since Partition of India in 1947. Forget 5 trillion economy, India will be set back by at least a decade, may be back to 1 trillion economy. I pray, nothing of that happens. Time to resort to Ramayan and Mahabharat.

Why mass migration is happening from Delhi only. Why not from other mega metros like Mumbai, Surat, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai? As I write, lacs are leaving NCR (National Capital Region) and heading to their home town in UP/Bihar, by WALK. Yes, walk-100s of KMs. And as usual, politics first pour in such situation rather than humanitarian help. This can be India’s achilles’ heel in preparation & effort to contain Coroba Virus.

As I write, major thoughts that is coming, Is world going to change post Corona Virus?And thumping answer is YES. Yes, in a big way.

  • I predict: China will replace USA, as the big-bully boy of the world. May be USA/Europe together will try to fight out China. May be countries around world will sue China for starting & pushing this disease across the world. May be govt across world will question the credibility of global institutions like UN, WHO etc. But all these will go in vain, exactly the same way, nothing could not be done against USA in last 4-5 decades. So, China will call all the shots, hence forth.
  • I predict: whole world (except China) will go into recession. And this recession will be bigger than the last seen in 2009. As I write, consumption cycle has already been broken & it’s just a start. Even if Corona Virus is defeated  say by May 2020 (being very optimistic), it’s after-impact on consumption cycle is going to stay for at least a year and all this translates to lower economic growth, in a capitalist world.
  • I predict: A big disruption will happen in all the sectors of the economy. Whether it’s tourism, or hospitality or construction or healthcare or govt spending on military etc, all will see both positive and negative disruptions. More on this, down the blog.
  • Govt across world has to now protect themselves against not only military aggression, but also in fronts like cyber-war, Bio-terrorism & Global warming. Till date military tags (& sacrifice) were given only to Army, Navy & air-force. But this honor will be extended to people in Cyber-warfare, Doctors/nurses/researchers working in field of healthcare & medicine, climate activists, conservatives etc. A big chunk of investment will finally see a shift from military to these fields.
  • A big boost to artificial intelligence, big data, robots will be there. Although this is already happening, but these sectors will see now more accelerated rise in terms of acceptance, adoption and implementation in real world. Expecting robots taking over the traditional human help present in shops, restaurants, hotels etc. The traditional form of military (human beings) in army, navy & air-force will be taken over by robots (the jobs of driver, sailors & pilots will be taken over by AI/Robots/drones etc.).

There is a debate going on : Whether to have a complete Lock down or not. India, has resorted to complete lock-down, where as USA has resorted to limited lock-down. Lock-down results in complete shut down of economic activity and thus a big set back to math of GDP. But, in my opinion India has done good by resorting to complete lock-down (in fact: feel, it was bit late, may be by a week). Many people, media houses, seem to opposing complete country lock-down, but I believe: “Economy is because of people and not the other-way round. You can revive a dead economy, but not dead people”. Thus, unlike USA, India has taken good, yet tough decision of going for complete shut-down, with on-set of Corona Virus.

Closer home, till date (29th March 2020), things that are working in India’s favor):

    • India is currently being headed by a Pied Piper. And whatever he says, a good % of population follows. And that’s the reason behind, that he is able to take some tough decision like complete lock-down.
    • Lock-down decision, when Corona Virus was in Stage-II, seems to be helping India, by delaying the onset of community transfer stage of stage -III and giving much needed precious time to govt machinery for preparedness.
    • Shut-down of public transport like trains, buses. 1st time in India’s rail history of >150 years, not a single passenger train in running across country. Even, during massacre of 1947 division, trains were running. This shows the seriousness of problem & it’s demand for an unusual & extra-ordinary step that needs to be taken.
  • What’s not in favor of India?
    • Population. 135 crore in numbers. But bigger problem than number is 135 crore opinions to deal with Corona Virus.
    •  Politics. The vulnerable section has been turned into a passing pillow, with one state transferring to other state, to keep their numbers/tension/liability down.
    • People. The certain % population’s callous attitude like not obeying rules & orders, not obeying hygiene & etiquette, will be big threat to whole country and can spread the Corona Virus like a wild fire.

POST CORONA VIRUS

Scenario: If India escapes the wrath of Corona Virus, which USA, Europe, China faced, who takes the credit?

I bet a big politics will be played on it. Govt will take all the credit for it’s decision making on Lock-down and handling of overall situation, where as the some section of Lutyen’s media and Buddhijivi, will site numerals technical papers & give credit to high temperature of summer, going in favor of India. I feel, if India is lucky to escape: a big % credit will go to Govt decision on lock-down, a certain % to Indian resistance to poor environment (sad but true, we are used to live in one) & may be small % to  high temperatures.

Scenario: How will world interact with China, post Corona Virus?

    • Immediate most countries will be in recession and occupied so much in that, nothing much they can do.
    • Post that, some countries will file cases against China, in their respective countries & International court of justice. But respective countries court cannot hold China responsible, for obvious reason of jurisdiction. In ICJ, China will have such a hold, that outcome will be NIL.
    • Few countries may severe economic ties with China, but it may prove to be slow poison of their own economy itself, unless they compensate it, with ties with countries like India etc.
    • A good number of countries will restrict their ties with China to limited extent, may ban Chinese tourist.
    • Many countries will officially name the Corona Virus to Chinese Virus or Wuhan Virus.
    • At home, a good % Indians will boycott Chinese goods, which will give boost to domestic industry, few big corporations (looking for alternative to China) will opt for India as alternative manufacturing center. Thus, in 2-3 years, after battling recession, I feel India Economy should boom big way.
    • Nevertheless, after all this world politics will be changed. China would replace USA as world’s (Immoral) Police. China will take over USA, in calling shots in world institutes like UN, WHO, IMF etc.
    • And if India gets tough, decisive , non-corrupt & positive leadership, it can get the tag as alternative to China and can become No.2 and get Permanent seat in UN Security council.

Disruptions we will be seeing or get acceleration, due to Corona Virus:

  • Medical research will be treated in par with Military research and thus govt spending in the sector will increase. Also People working in the sector will be treated in par with military.
  • Physical Distancing Industry: Post Corona Virus, a new concept of “physical distancing” will gain importance, resulting in greater adoption of Robots etc. in field of Hospitality Industry (hotels/ restaurants), hotels, shops, Malls, Super market. Robots will take a big way. Already, happening shift of “offline” to “online” will get a big boost and e-commerce industry, driver-less vehicle industry will see greater acceptance & adoption. All This will result in mass unemployment.

The physical distancing industry will be coined and grow the way “Uber” concept grew. Uber concept was about connecting: “provider and receiver” directly. The physical distancing industry will take the concept a step ahead, connecting provider & receiver directly, but not physically.

  • Tourism industry will be shock for at least 2 years. People will refrain from travel, with the concept of “physical distancing”. All resulting in un-employment.
  • War-fare industry: Even existing forms of military: Army, Navy & Air force will see a big shift towards adoption of AI, robots, drones. Overall, resulting in lesser absorption of human beings within it’s fold.
  • Communication: Work from home acceptance across sectors will increase & adopted. Online conference, education, classes, counselling, will see more audience.
  • Employment Shift: Although this phenomena is already happening and it’s origin cannot be attributed to Corona Virus, but the the shift be accelerated because of Corona Virus. Employment will shift up the chain, i.e. to field which demand more skills & education. Employment will move from “offline” to “Online”, will move from “field” to “desktop”, will move from “physically demanding” to “mentally demanding”.
  • UBI: Mass unemployment across various sectors will result in govt passing laws like Universal Basic Income. And govt like Indian, have realized the importance of UBI, in scenarios like Corona Virus.
  • On Global Warming: Lot of data will be out, showing positive impact on environment post lock-down. These data will encourage many countries across world to force lock-downs couple of times in a year.
  • Mass surveillance (& Technology): Till date, China is the only country which does mass surveillance and this technology has helped countries like China, South Korea, Taiwan to reign in Corona Virus. This will make many countries to re-think on their take on mass surveillance, and many will finally adapt these technologies to handle these war kind of scenarios.
  • In world politics: disruption will be China replacing USA as the DON. India will gain in long term (beyond 3yrs).
  • n
  • nn
 

KUTCH trip- 11-14th Jan 2020 January 20, 2020

The saying goes “KUTCH Nahin dekha, to KUCH nahin dekha”.  The English translation is: If you have not seen Kutch, you have not seen anything. And it’s very much TRUE.

The area is indeed a unique geography & add over it, the masala of colorful culture. The presence of military to guard one of the most tensed & harsh international borders of the world, gives it a bigger ah! & Oooh! Factor. Also, it is one of few successful govt. sponsored & developed tourism site. I guess one of the many factors, people voted Mr. Narendra Modi so many times, despite all the criticism of his policies & decisions.

Rann of Kutch Geography:

  • Western part of India, in state of Gujarat.
  • It’s hot, marshy & salty land spread over 1000s of Sq.km.
  • Winters (November- February) are best time to visit it.
  • In Summers, it can be “Valley of Death”.
Tour Map

The Kutch Tour map: ~1500 Kms done over 4 days. Red circles/marks showing places of Interest.

The Ooommph factor:

  • Vast (Infinite) salty & muddy plains, with patches of thorny shrub in name of greenery.
  • Trees are hard to find in 100 of KMs of drive and thus natural shade is missing.
  • Fittingly called White desert. White because of precipitated salt.
  • Rann Utsav, held in months of November to Feb, is a colorful cultural extravagance.
  • Food, Cloth, Mud houses for stay & remains of 2000 yrs old Harappa civilization.
  • Many Bollywood movies have been shot in this region. Lagaan, Refugee, Hum Dil de Chuke Sanam, to name few.

Places to visit:

Mandvi: A sleepy beach town on coast, which can be skipped, if on a short tour (< 3 days)

  • Mandvi beach: Bathing facility, horse rides, Camel ride, Amateur water sports.
  • Vijay Vilas palace: Palace of erst while king, now turned into small museum. Lagaan movie was shot here. Entry fee, parking fee etc. applicable
  • Godhara Ambedham: Neat & Clean temple with free lunch.
  • Shyamji verma Memorial: An European styled house, in middle of no-where, belonging to a freedom fighter.
  • Vijay Vilas Palace

    Vijay Vilas Palace, where block buster Bollywood movie Lagaan was Shot

Narayan Sarovar & Lakhpat:

  • Again, because of distance, these two places should be done, only if tour is >3 days in this area.
  • ~150 kms from Bhuj/Mandavi. Narayan Sarovar is the extreme most West point of India.
  • Narayan Sarovar is a temple village right on the coast. Has beautiful sight of coast. Got basic facilities of parking, toilets & snacking.
  • Lakhpat is a huge (village) fort on shores of sea, which gets dried in winter leaving vast stretches of white sand (i.e. salty sand). Got some excellent view of white desert. For us, the excitement & wow! Factor was more, as we saw White desert for the first time.
Narayan Sarovar

Pic @ Narayan Sarovar

Lakhpat fort

Lakhpat fort – White desert in background – Refugee Movie was shot here

Mata No Madh:

  • Temple town dedicated to Ashapura Mata.
  • Neat & clean temple premises and the town has got basic facility of food, lodging etc.
Mata No Madh

Mata No Madh- Ashapura Mata Temple

Rann Utsav:

  • A 2 days must stay tent city town which gets raised in Winter months, welcoming lakhs of domestic & international visitors.
  • A huge shopping area, local folk dance & performances, camel rides, great view point, hot air balloon ride, variety of food.
  • Main attraction is “Salt molecule” shaped structure, to view vast white sand desert or as they say “WHITE RANN”. It is the best point to see Sun set, moon rise & moon light lighting up the white sand.
  • One can also opt from hundreds of mud houses to stay, around the main Rann Utsav.
The hut

Rann Rajvi- Hut home stay in Kutch/ Rann of Kutch / White desert

Rann Utsav

In Rann Utsav

India Bridge & Vighakot fort (India-Pakistan Border):

  • Till India Bridge, one can drive. But to go beyond, permit is needed which is available only in Army base of Bhuj.
  • Drive beyond India Bridge is through middle of vast salty plains, with not a single shade of tree available. The only human being available after this, are rough n tough Indian army men. Road is very narrow & only one vehicle can pass at a time.
  • Also, mobiles, cameras etc. have to be submitted to army men at India bridge.
  • Army men do give a small brief at Vighakot & Pakistan posts are clearly visible from here.

 

Kalo Dungar:

  • The place is highest in Kutch and thus offer stunning view of Kutch & white desert.
  • Famous as Sun set & sun rise viewpoint.

Tropic of Cancer:

  • Tropic of cancer run across the highway drive from Rann of Kutch to Bhuj.
  • A signboard (pin available in google map) shows same.

Bhuj:

  • Biggest city of Kutch and is well connected by Train from various cities of India
  • It has got an airport, but only flight is to/fro Mumbai.
  • Main attractions: Aina Mahal & Prag Mahal (seemed like Pilot version of CST terminus of Mumbai), Bhujia fort atop hills, Vande Mataram Museum, Swami Narayan temple, Lake.
  • If in Bhuj: Prag Mahal, Bhujia fort & Vande Mataram are must visit & can be covered in 1 day. Others can be done, if time permits.
  • In n around Vande Mataram Museum, is handi-craft village, from where at least memento can be bought for Kutch memory.

Drive from Bachau to Morbi:

  • This road is what connects Kutch with rest of country. A very picturesque road, but equally busy. It has got good dhabas/restaurants like Honest etc.
  • Sea has entered land here, thus a small parcel has it all: roads, rail, power transmission tower, wind mills.

Others:

  • Kandla, Gandhidham are other two big port cities in the region.
  • Most truck traffic on highway is because of these two ports.
  • Adani port is now largest port of India, in terms of tonnage of cargo handling.

Other: Dholavira:

  • It is the other (east) side of Kutch and would be need a day on its own.
  • It used to be a port city when Rann was actual Sea during Harappa civilization.
  • The archelogy remains, and museum is reminder of same.
  • It is supposed to give same feeling as Rann of Kutch, albeit with less crowd & extravagance.

 

Beware of:

  • Weather: It can get very hot in summer. Donot attempt to venture into plains without proper help/guidance. Nights in winter can go very cold (feels like temp of 5-10 degC kind of range).
  • Vehicle malfunction: Certain roads are in No man’s land. Vehicle technical help will be very limited in certain highways/roads. Better be prepared/trained. We had the experience of puncture in middle of white desert. Kindly driver had the tools & skills to amend same.
  • Special dietary requirements: After & beyond Bhuj, very limited options of food will be available. Better be prepared, if you are very choosy.
  • Donot dis-obey army rules. This is a border area

Our Trip:

  • 5 families: 17 homo sapiens including the children
  • Mode of transport: Force tempo traveler
  • Total Distance covered: ~1500 Kms
  • 23:30 hrs of 10th Jan to 22:00 hrs of 14th Jan 2020 (~4 days)
  • Day 1: Reliance green -> Dhrol -> Morbi -> Bhachau -> Bhuj -> Mandavi (Sight-seeing)
  • Day 2: Mandavi -> Narayan Sarovar -> Lakhpat fort -> Mata No Madh -> Gorewali (Rann Utsav)
  • Day 3: Rann Utsav -> Khavda -> India Bridge -> Vighakot (India _pakistan border) -> India Bridge -> Khavda -> Rann Utsav
  • Day 4: Rann Utsav -> Tropic of cancer point -> Bhuj (sight-seeing) -> Bhachau -> Morbi -> Dhrol -> Home
  • Cost: Rs ~25000-30000 per family
  • Stay in Mandavi @ Radhe Motel. A decent hotel, providing neat toilets & bedsheets.
  • Stay in Rann: @ Rajvi home stays. Very good huts like neat bedsheets & toilet, providing home cooked kutcha food. Has got facility of bon-fire, music etc.

 

kutch contacts

1) Stop for good and natural ice cream & juices (2) Our African descendant driver, who does good African dance (2) Hut stays in Rann/Kutch

Bus

Troop in Traveler

 

Aurangabad, Ajanta, Ellora bike trip-2nd-4th oct-2014 January 22, 2017

capture

Total Distance: ~1000 kms

Route: Airoli -> Kalyan -> Nashik -> Manmad -> Nandgaon -> Ellora Caves -> Aurangabad -> Ajanta Caves -> Jalgaon -> Dhule -> Malegaon -> Nashik -> Airoli

Date: 2nd Oct-4th Oct-2014

Who: Me & Abanish Mohanty

In: Royal Enfield 350 cc

First night stop: Aurangabad city

2nd Night stop: Nashik Outskirts

Places of interest: Igatpuri, Ellora caves ; Ajanta Caves, Biwi ka makbara (poor man’s Taj Mahal), Daulatabad, Grishneswar jyotirling

Best time to visit: Monsoon (July to Sept) or Winters (Dec to Feb)

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Monty, the monk inside Ellora caves

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Abanish -after tiring 1st day ride

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Biwi Ka Makbara (Aurangabad)

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Poor man’s Taj Mahal, Aurangabad

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Waterfall – Ajanta Caves

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Igatpuri 

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Biwi ka Makbara-Aurangabad

 

 

 

Kaas Plateau: 31stDec’16 – 1st Jan’17 January 1, 2017

onward-journey

ONWARD JOURNEY : DAY 1: 31st Dec-2016

return

RETURN JOURNEY : DAY 2: 1st JAN-2017

First leg of the trip: Tiger Point (some also called Lion point, depending upon one’s fav king of the jungle).

Tiger point, is some 10 kms from Lonavala towards Amby valley. Lonavala to Amby valley is very good drive, as one pass through dam, INS Shivaji, tiger point , few more view points & then to Amby valley. This being one of the favorite spots of all Mumbaikars & Punekars, much is written on this & so I would skip it.

Parking fees: No; Toilet availability: No; Swachh Bharat Score: 5/10 (My fellow youngsters are too busy in taking selfies, to take care of their trash). Only light snacks stalls available. Nearest lodging/restaurant eating option is Lonavala.

KAAS PLATEAU, SATARA, MAHARASTRA

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Right on Kaas plateau, Behind the railings, flowers grow during the season

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On Way to Kaas from Satara

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On Way to Kaas from Satara

Kaas plateau, also called Kaas Pathar in local language, is situated some 25 kms uphills from Satara town. As tourist place, it is famous as “Valley of flowers”, as wild variety of colorful flower grow here after monsoons, but it is for just few weeks. Thus, recommended time to visit is August, September. Nevertheless, in my opinion the place is also best visited in Winter, if one wants a very secluded place, a place to camp outdoors, a place for star gazing, a place to breakout from crowd, a place just to THINK.

Lodging options: There are few options on way from Satara to Kaas plateau, which are mostly private homes converted to lodging options. The nearest one to Kaas plateau is Kaas holiday. In winters, if you have a tent, best is to camp outdoors at Kasbe Bamnoli, on banks of river Koyna.

Eating options: The lodging facility only have eating options. Else there are none.

Kaas Plateau: The flowering area measuring few acres, comes under forest department & during season, vehicle movement is restricted between 7AM to 7PM.

Few important links to check before planning to go during flowering season:

https://www.kas.ind.in/

https://www.maharashtratourism.gov.in/treasures/heritage/kaas-pathar

Kasbe Bamnoli:

The place is some 15 kms from Kaas plateau and drive meanders through a forest and is very sexy drive. On way is Kas lake, which has got eating outlets. One can camp on shores of the lake.

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Kas lake, on way from Kaas plateau to Kasbe Bamnoli

Kasbe bamnoli, sits on dams on Koyna river and has boating, camping & eating options. It is an ideal place for a new year party or a team/family picnic.

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Kasbe Bamnoli

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Bike right on Koyna River

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KASBE BAMNOLI VIEW FROM SURROUNDING HILL TOP

SUMMARY:

  1. Total Distance covered: ~700 kms
  2. Total driving time: ~6-7 hrs, one way
  3. Roads are good by Indian standards. Mumbai to Satara is part of 6 lane golden Quadrilateral.
  4. In my opinion, Kaas plateau is better option than near by Mahabaleswar, may be because I love less crowded & thus a more clean place.
  5. Although tourist season for Kaas is Aug-sept, it is equally good in Winters.

PLEASE be a explorative tourist, not an exploitative tourist. Use dustbins.

 

Day trip to Somnath-7th Feb-2016 February 20, 2016

Route: Reliance Green –> Khambaliya -> Shingda -> PORBANDAR -> MADHAVPUR ->Mangrol ->Chorvad -> SOMNATH -> JUNAGAD -> Kalavad -> Reliance green

Total Distance: ~500 Kms

Time: 6:30 AM to 8:00PM

Mode of transport: Car (Maruti Swift)

Places of interest:

a) Porbandar: Birthplace of greatest personality of modern times, Mahatma Gandhiji

b) Somnath: One of the 12 Jyotirling temple of Lord Shiva, which have risen from ashes, not once, not twice, but more than 5 times.

c) Beautiful beach of Madhavpur

d) City of Junagad, famous for Girnar temple & ancient buildings, standing testimony of it’s glorious history, it had.

e) The region has given people like Dhirubhai Ambani, Mahatma Gandhi are proof of it’s glorious history. Seeing architecture of villages & towns, one could easily make-out, the rich times the region enjoyed, because of maritime trade & commerce & it’s entrepreneurial  people.

Somnath

We started from Reliance Greens around 6:30 AM and with no stops, reached Porbander by 8:15 AM. Luckily, the Gandhiji’s ancestral home & birth place, had opened. With no traffic, we could criss-cross thin strip roads pretty fast. From the roads & architecture of houses, shops, one could easily make out the town being many many centuries old. Gandhiji’s house is really a big one with some 22 odd rooms & a courtyard, which could beat any average playground size, Indians play cricket in. The house was purchased apparently by Gandhiji great grandfather in 1777 (actual copy of the deal is there in the photo gallery) & seem to be in what would be a posh locality of that time, as it is looked kind of a gated community. The house is now a museum with well maintained photo gallery, celebrating Gandhiji’s life & his contribution to India’s (& Pakistan’s) independence. Besides being Gandhiji’s birthplace, Porbander is also famous of its port, salt works & last but not least, “Nirma factory”, the detergent with fame of “sabki pasand Nirma”. We visited Sudama temple nearby, savored on breakfast of fafra jalebi, puri bhaji, patra and ultra-sweet gujju tea. By 9:00 AM, we were on our way to Somnath, driving parallel to coast along NH-8E.

We had to take de-tour before Madhavpur, because a section of a brand new bridge over a river, had collapsed (obviously shoddy work by contractor). Soon, we reached beautiful & secluded beach of Madhavpur. Again, with few Indians visiting the beach, it was very neat & clean.

After loffering around 20 mins in beach, we started for Somnath. Now, the countryside resembled like my native place (Coastal Odisha), plain stretches with lots of coconut trees. We zipped through Mangrol, Chorvad. Both towns, seemed to be centuries old & later is the birthplace of India’s no.1 entrepreneur , Dhirubhai Ambani.

By 11:45, we were in Somnath. The final section of ~20 Kms, is section of NH 8D (Somnath-Junagad) & is a super 4 lane toll highway. I could make out super infrastructure development that has happened. The walkways, parking, roads etc. were all brand new.  Unexpectedly, the place was relatively neat & clean & well maintained. Somnath is one of the 12 Jyotirling’s of Lord Shiva & thus has been an important pilgrimage for Hindus, for time immemorial.

Somnath, the magnificent  & ancient temple, is a shining example of superiority of perseverance over destruction. The temple, has been “man” destroyed at least 6 times in past 1000 years & each time, it has risen like “phoenix” from ashes. Personally, I feel, this temple is an example of what Hinduism is. It’s about believe in your faith, what-so-ever, believe in peace and “mind your own business” attitude. Examples like Somnath proves that Hinduism is not exactly a religion..it is a way of living. Every time, I read history of temples like Somnath, Konark, only one question come to my mind :”How can one think also about destroying such a beauty?”, but fact is: man has not only thought but destroyed as well these places, not once but more than that.

Coming back, with such history of destruction, obviously the security of Somnath is very tight. Belt, mobile, bags etc. are not allowed and free locker facilities are available. Ample parking spaces, shoe stands, toilets, eateries, ATM & all other basic amenities are available, all near the temple. Temple has three aarti timings (morning, afternoon & evening). Luckily, we reached at 12:00 and were blessed to see the aarti. Weather was perfect, crowd was thin, temple was neat & clean & aarti darshan, all made it very a very memorable & blessed visit.

Temple also hosts an “light & sound” show in evening, in an open air amphitheater, with one end being sea and other Temple. Elaborate arrangements of seating are made in & around temple, to enjoy temple, sea & sun-set. There’s also an Arrow-pillar, which signifies that there is no land mass in the direction of arrow (& actually the next land mass that comes in the direction of arrow is, Antartica). There are few other small temples & a gallery showing 12 Jyotirling’s of Lord Shiva. What was really missing, was the exhibition to celebrate (& mourn as well) the history of the temple. I was expecting it to be there & to my utter dis-appointment, there was nothing. Only thing, I could see was a (poor) photo gallery, with excavation photos, which was done in 1940-60s. Dear govt, this photo gallery is not a museum, please create an exclusive one, the temple’s glorious history deserves one.

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After enjoying temple & sea, and clicking some photos for fb/blog, we filled out stomach in a near by Punjabi restaurant. By 2:30PM, we started by first leg of return journey. This time we took NH-8D, newly completed 4 lane toll highway. The road was super, we reached Junagad by 3:30PM.

Junagad was a princely state before Independence and was of the two kingdoms (other being Hyderabad), whose kings wanted to be part of Pakistan. I am sure, now they would be glad, that they are not part of Pakistan. Junagad is famous for Girnar temple, a hill top temple, having a following among Hindus & Muslims of the region & across the country. The temple is accessible only by foot steps and many people also do parikrama (walk along the circumference of the hill), which measures something like ~40 kms. Junagad, also is the launch pad to visit world famous & only Asiatic Lion sanctuary, “Gir forest”, some 100 kms away.

We did neither of above, because of lack of time. Rather we took a guided tour (& guide was drunk, surprisingly in a dry state) of Junagad palace, which turn out to be pretty boring to me & my friend as well. If not Gir forest, at least visit zoo. So we visited Junagad zoo, again turned out to be very boring. By 6:00 PM, we were done with all this and decided to return. On way out of Junagad, we saw number of ancient buildings, which were now converted to schools, colleges, hospitals, govt offices and grand mosques, all telling it’s glorious history of being an independent state.

We took highway 927D, a 2 lane smooth road & via Kalvad reached Reliance Greens by 8:00PM. A day-off well spent with darshan of Gandhiji’s birthplace & Somnath temple.

Wish readers, a happy, safe & litter free travelling.

Photo of the trip:

 

Bike trip to Dwarka-31st Jan-2016, Fafra-Jalebi route February 14, 2016

Route: Reliance greens (Jamnagar) -> Khambaliya -> Madhi -> Dwarka -> Nageswar -> Mithapur -> Okha -> Dwarka -> Highway 947 (Charkala)-> Khambaliya -> Reliance green

Bike: Honda Unicorn

Trip meter -> ~300 kms

Time: 7:15 Am to 5:30 PM

route

Places of interest:

  1. Beautiful beach of Madhi (also called Bechtel beach))
  2. Teerth sthal (holy city) of Dwarka
  3. Nageswar (supposedly a Jyotirling) & Gopi kund.
  4. Okha (one of the western most tip of India) & last/1st railway station
  5. Expansive salt lakes throughout the journey. Most amazing one seemed to be “Charkala” salt works on highway 947
  6. Island of Beyt Dwarka
  7. The region is heaven for Ornithologist, with some unique birds, which I have not seen in other parts of India.
  8. Debate over lost city of “Dwarka” also makes it interesting place for archaeologist & historians.
  9. Good quality roads, little traffic, wind mills, occasional salt lakes, coastline etc. on a winter day, is a perfect recipe of a pleasant drive.

Cautions:

  1. Fuel stations, both for vehicle & stomach are very few.
  2. Choosy foody people may suffer. In whole route, Dwarka is only place with certain options. Otherwise, it’s only “khakra & jalebi”.

It was my, what 20-odd trip to Jamnagar & I had hardly explored the region. This time I was on 2 weeks trip & so decided, will see all the places around. I borrowed Honda Unicorn from my friend (thanks Prakash R) & set on to Dwarka on a perfect wintery Sunday morning, around 7AM, alone. The 4 lane highway near Reliance mega refinery, gives way to 2 lane highway immediately after Essar refinery. But still quality of drive remains more or less same, as road was good & traffic, less. I filled bike tank with petrol & my tank with breakfast of fafra & jalebi. The NH-29 to Karunga is a bit boring drive, with dry arid region & scrub vegetation, with occasional wind mills.But right turn towards Dwarka near Karunga & suddenly view changes. Now, I was on NH 8E/6, which connects Dwarka & Porbander (birthplace of Mahatma Gandhiji). Few miles away from the right turn in Madhi beach. On one side of the road is beach & other side, huge salt lake, which makes a perfect place to stop & capture some photographs for memory & facebook. The beach also got a small, turtle egg laying place. Good part is, since there is no eating place, it looks like hardly any Indian visit here & so the place is very neat & clean. Interestingly, it is tagged as Bechtel beach in google map, which shows the no. of visitors Reliance gives to this place (Bechtel is Oil & gas DEC behemoth & is DEC contractor for Reliance Jamnagar refineries).The few benches on the beach (this is best thing I like in Gujarat…they have benches for seating, everywhere) makes a perfect chilaxing point. Although I wanted to stay for some more time, but the thought of reaching Dwarka before temple closing time, I started from Madhi beach with a resolution that, I will come back again here for a night camping. Madhi to Dwarka is ~25 kms highway running parallel to the coast. Few pics of beautiful Madhi beach:

So by 9:30 AM, I was in Dwaarkadheesh temple. After getting the darshan of lord around 10:15 AM (to my surprise, it was not crowded at all), I started exploring the place around the temple. Mobile phones, bags etc are not allowed inside the temple. The walkway to temple, seems to have been developed by Ambani family. The tiled walkway has got some 100 odd paintings depicting life of Lord Shree Krishna. Some decent infrastructure is provided around the temple, but as usual like any other Indian religious place, the place is bit dirty. There are again benches in Promenade behind the temple, a perfect place to see sunset. There are many more ancient temples, a hanging bridge over the (shallow) Gomti river, as it flows into the sea. But I was not that interested. So, after a stay of ~1hr, I started my drive towards Nageshwar. Here are few pics of Dwarkadheesh temple.

BTW, I did my research on Old Dwarka city (after returning from journey). I am convinced, that a great city (not the way it is not shown in some mythological serials. The serial is an artist depiction.) did exist 10,000 yrs ago & got swallowed by sea. It’s pity that our own govt has stopped exploration of our great history.

Back to travelogue, I started by 11:00 towards Nageswar temple, ~18 KMs ride from Dwarka. Some people, across India, believe it is a Jyotirling, one of 12 holiest places of lord Shiv. Nevertheless, I visited more as a tourist than a religious person. Luckily, even this place was not crowded and within few mins, I got darshan of Lord shiv’s jyotirling (It was inside a glass enclosure). The temple also had a big statue of lord Shiva. After savouring on coconut water, I started towards Gopi kund, where supposedly Lord Krishna took bath along with Gopis. Against my expectation, it was a very small (Indian) pond.

From Gopi Kund, I started towards Okha, with a resolution to reach one of the westernmost tip of India. The road seemed to be polluted with salt & also could be seen was Tata chemical factory of Mithapur. On way, also comes Arambhada, which it seems has a ship breaking & recyling industry.

Finally I reached Okha, the place I had heard all these years in train name “Puri-Okha express”. As I was in Okha railway station, I realized I was like ~2000 kms away from my hometown & ~50 hrs away, if I travel in  Okha-Puri express. Okha, is the western most railway station on Broad gauge line & is connected by rest of India with number of long distance pilgrimage express.Both road & rail line terminates in Okha port, which also is gateway to island of “Beyt Dwarka”. Because of lack of time, I decided not to visit Beyt Dwarka. After few clicks of Western most tip of India, I started my return journey.

 

On return journey, I had my lunch in Dwarka and took highway 947 via Charkala , to reach Khambaliya. From maps, I always knew that this road is far from coast, but was surprised the moment I reached Charkala salt works. The salt lakes were like sea. There was no end to water, as far as I can see. Later, I figured out, actually they had channeled sea inside landmass, resulting in massive salt lakes. Those were last clicks of my day long tour & I reached Reliance guesthouse by 5:30PM.

It was good day long bike trip after almost a year. Now out of 4 teerth dham, I have visited 3 , with only “North Dham” Badrinath remaining. Interestingly, I have done all 3 in bike, hope to do 4th one in bike as well. JAI SHREE DWARKADHEESH. JAI SHREE KRISHNA.

 

On your mark, All set, Go….Goa [18th-20th August-2012] February 6, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — omus @ 6:15 pm

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Omus's Weblog

Goa defined in a photo…credits to Avijit Mishra

The above photo very much define the majority of taste of vacation in Goa. Although it is much more than that.

This was my 3rd trip to Goa, but my first blog on it. Although this blog will just another drop in travel blogs on Goa, but will try to pour in my all three travel experiences, to make it as comprehensive & detail, to help future visitors to Goa.

The first one was with my office team, with base at Varca Beach resort. If you have money, this is one of the best bets to stay in. Second trip base was in Dona Paulo, heart of Goa government, thus very neat & clean by Indian standards. Stayed there in IOCL guest house, “just awesome”: two wors to describe it. Third trip base was in Calangute beach, one of the busiest beach of Goa.

View original post 2,464 more words

 

Mahuli Fort, 29th December-2013 January 12, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — omus @ 11:10 am
Mahuli Fort

Mahuli Fort

 

Lord Bhairoji’s Tour of Rajasthan-17th to 19th Jan 2013 June 12, 2013

Rajasthan Tour-17th-18th-19th Jan 2013

Rajasthan Tour-17th-18th-19th Jan 2013

When: 17th, 18th & 19th January-2013

By: Travera

Total distance: ~ 1000 kms

Overall Road quality: Good. Best one is Agra-Bikaner highway. Average speed can be 60 km/hr

 

 

Maharastra religious Circle: 13th-14th April-2013 June 11, 2013

Maharastra- Religious Circle

Maharastra- Religious Circle

Dates: 5:00AM 13th April 2013 to 6PM 14th April 2013

Map Points: C: Shani Signapur ; D: Grishneswar/ Ellora Caves; E: Shirdi ; F: Trimbakeswar

Route: Airoli -> Pune Expressway -> Pune -> Ahmednagar -> Shani Shignapur -> Aurangabad -> Grishneswar (Ellora or Khultabad  -> Vaijapur -> Shirdi -> Nasik -> Trimbak -> Nasik -> Thane -> Airoli

Total distance: ~800 kms

Overall road quality: 80% was good to very good (~70-100km/hr); 10% was ok (40-70 km/hr) ; 10% was poor (<30 km/hr)

Vehicle: 7+1 Innova.

Toll paid: ~Rs. 500

Places Visited: Shani Shignapur, Grishneswar(one of the 12 Jyotir Ling) , Shirdi Sai baba temple , Triambakeswar (one of the 12 Jyotirling)

Other places of interest:

Mountain views along Pune expressway (Matheran, Lonalve); Old capital city of Daulatabad with its decaying forts & tombs; thousand years old Ellora caves, grape vineyards of Nasik.

Somewhat off route: Ajanta caves near Aurangabad.

To complete all these 3 days are must.

1)      Navi Mumbai – Pune via Expressway:

–          Toll of Rs. 165

–          Eateries/Toilets only near Toll gates

–          Cannot stop on expressway. So cannot really enjoy the scenic route.

–          Huge truck traffic.

–          Average speed: 80-90 km/hr

2)      Pune -> Ahmednagar -> Shani Shignapur:

–          4 lane divided highway, so average speed: 60-70 km/hr

–          The road are infested with Dhabas & eatery options. So eating, refreshing should not be a problem

–          Beware of surprise speed breakers

3)      Shani Signapur Temple:

–          It is the only temple dedicated to Lord Shani

–          Saturday are usually crowded & can take an hour to complete the temple rituals.

–          Oil, teel (sasam seeds) are usual offering to god. Oil is spread over god in an engineered fashion via small tanks & pumps.

–          I advise to take only oil, as other offerings are not allowed on god & so are kind of waste.

–          As the temple popularity is growing, some hotels, lodge etc. have mushroomed. Also have restaurants which serves mainly thalis & snacks.

–          Parking, Bathroom, toilet facility are available near the temple

–          Free shoe stand is also available

–          Beware of shops asking to keep shoes in their stand, as they charge a premium while selling other stuff.

Parking Facility YES
Hotels to stay YES (but don’t expect high class standards)
Restaurants to eat YES (again don’t expect variety)
Toilets/bathrooms for day tourist YES (again they are very dungy)
Shoe stand YES (free just near entrance)
Time taken <1 hr on usual days. Saturdays may take bit longer
Tourist guidance YES & NO. office is there, but officials may be missing
Best time to visit Monsoon or Winter (June to February)
Non Hindus entry Not sure
Overall Tourist/Pilgrim friendly 6/10.

–           

4)      Shani Shignapur -> Aurangabad -> Daulatabad -> Grishneswar

–          4 lane divided highway, so average speed: 60-70 km/hr

–          The road are infested with Dhabas & eatery options. So eating, refreshing should not be a problem

–          Beware of surprise speed-breakers

5)      Grishneswar temple:

–          One of the 12 jyotirlings of Lord Shiva.

–          It is not as that crowded as other Jyotirlings

Parking Facility YES
Hotels to stay YES (but don’t expect high class standards)
Restaurants to eat YES (again don’t expect variety)
Toilets/bathrooms for day tourist Did not find
Shoe stand NO (free just near entrance)
Time taken < 1 hr
Tourist guidance NO.
Best time to visit Monsoon or Winter (June to February)
Non Hindus entry Not sure
Overall Tourist/Pilgrim friendly 3/10

–          The whole tourist circuit of Aurangabad, Daulatabad, Ajanta & Ellora caves & Grishneswar temple can take 2 days.

6)      Grisneswar -> Vaijapur -> Shirdi

–          SH-39 is kind of a patchy Village road

–          Average speed is like ~30 km/hr

–          Stretch especially between Grishneswar & Vaijapur is bad.

–          Hardly any dhaba or eating option

7)      Shirdi:

–          One of the most visited religious site in India & supposedly second most richest temple in India.

–          Number of visitors are increasingly exponentially year on year with increasing popularity of Sai Baba.

–          With this growth is coming chaos of typical Indian religious place. Number of hotels are exploding, restaurants are exploding & do the number of touts.

–          Bus stand is near temple & there are number of hotels to choose from within 2 km radius of the temple.

– A railway station has started in Shirdi & daily train from Mumbai is there. Also some long distance weekly connect it to various parts of the country. But still, road is preferred means to reach Shirdi. Buses connect with all major surrounding cities like Pune, Nasik, Mumbai, Thane, Surat etc.

Parking Facility YES
Hotels to stay YES of all standards. If not booked online in one of the temple trust’s hostel, it’s worthless to try in real time, especially on peak day/ season.
Restaurants to eat YES. Plenty of options. Near Gate No 2, good looking options are there.
Toilets/bathrooms for day tourist YES
Shoe stand/ Cloak room YES (Both near Gate No.2 of temple). Mobiles not allowed (deposit near gate No 2)
Time taken Anywhere from 1 hr to 6 hrs
Tourist guidance NO.
Best time to visit Monsoon or Winter (June to February)
Non Hindus entry Allowed.
Cautions –          Beware of touts thru out the town-          Worthless to take flowers, as it never reaches god-          Use shoe stand, instead of shops. They loot like anything.-          Bargain hard on purchases
Some tips –          Best time to go early morning or night-10PM (last) aarti-          Go on weekdays-          Free aarti is better than 300 Rs. aarti (My opinion)
Overall Tourist/Pilgrim friendly 5/10

8)      Shirdi -> Nasik -> Trimbak

–          2 lane highway

–          Average speed 40-50 km/hr

–          Passes through heart of Nasik. So all facilities available in tis route.

9)      Trimbak (Trimbkaeswar)

–          One of the Jyotirling & thus holds religious importance among Hindus. It is one of the three sites to hold world famous religious gathering of Kumbh Mela.

–          The village circles around a temple & a pond, supposedly birth place of Indian peninsula’s largest n longest River, Godavari.

–          The picturesque temple is surrounded by hills & give a hint of Kedarnath (in Uttaranchal) style location.

Parking Facility YES
Hotels to stay Basic. For better options, Nasik is the place to stay
Restaurants to eat YES , but Basic.
Toilets/bathrooms for day tourist Should be there near Pond (bathing place)
Shoe stand/ Cloak room YES (near entrance of the temple). Mobiles not allowed
Time taken Anywhere from 1 hr to 3 hrs. On festivals, it may take a day
Tourist guidance NO.
Best time to visit Monsoon or Winter (June to February). Monsoon will be very picturesque
Overall Tourist/Pilgrim friendly 5/10

10)   Nasik -> Thane -> navi Mumbai

–          Lovely 4 lane highway with dividers

–          Average speed: 60-70 km/hr

 Overall: the religious circle can be easily done in 2 days (except seasons n festivals). It can be clubbed with sight seeing in Aurangabad, Ellora caves, Ajanta caves to make it a complete 360 degree tour.

 FEW REQUESTS:

–          PLEASE DONOT LITTER.

–          Respect people’s religious belief & traditions

 

A weekend trip to Alibag & Kashid…2nd & 3rd Feb 2013 February 5, 2013

Matru ka mandola at Kashid Beach

Matru ka mandola at Kashid Beach

Alibag is fort cum sea destination, just ~70 kms from Navi Mumbai’s Airoli. It is Mumbaikar’s THE destination for the weekend & holiday’s.

Kashid is again a sleepy, but beautiful beach town further south of Alibag & is perfect for a peaceful weekend.

HOW TO GO ? 

Route (1): Mumbai or Navi Mumbai- Vashi- palm beach road-hit JNPT road (Uran Road)- Chimer- NH-17-Pen- Vadhkhal- (Alibag road) Poinad- Alibag-Kurul- Nagaon-Revdanda-Wandeli-Kashid

Approx driving time: 2/2.5 hours. Toll: two times: Rs 25+15

Alternate route (2): Mumab/Navi Mumbai- Thane Belapur road- Panvel expressway- Nh-17- Pen- Vadhkhal- (Alibag road) Poinad- Alibag-Kurul- Nagaon-Revdanda-Wandeli-Kashid

Approx driving time: 2.5/3 hrs Toll: Rs 25 + 15

Navi Mumbai to Alibag-Kashid

Navi Mumbai to Alibag-Kashid

Route-2 will have traffic for most of the part, so route-1 is a preferred route, as traffic will be least with some descent quality of roads, only exception being the 17kms stretch of NH-17, which frequently have traffic jams.

But for route-1, you need Google map app in your phone for guidance (or need to ask localites : very few in numbers), as there is hardly any civilisation is some 30 Kms stretch. Also guide boards are missing in critical junctions.

For route-1, it’s better to get all necessary supplies like water, light snacks & fuel for vehicle.

 Best & the most convenient way is own personal vehicle. Road is quite good for a bike trip as well.

– Public transport (buses) is few & not the best for a holiday mood. Trains are there only till Pen & so from there one has to hire taxi.

What to take along with you?

– Bathing/swimming costumes (with spares) for sea bath.

– Ball, volleyball, football for sea sports.

– Sun screen lotion for beauty conscious people

– Sunglasses, cap for style.

– Polythene for carrying wet clothes or saving valuable from getting wet.

– Extra polythene (in good numbers) to segregate your garbage

– Camera, money & some vacation spirit.

ALIBAG: 

A sleepy town which gets hyperactive on weekends & holidays because of tourist traffic coming from Mumbai & Pune. There are two main attractions of the town: beach famous for sun set & fort which stands in middle of sea, but still is quite accessible by foot. Many Bollywood films have been shot here.

There are quite a number of hotels & resorts, but booking in peak season (& extended weekends) starts months before.

Facility available:

– Town has all that would be a needed a tourist town, but all in short supply.

– ATM, restaurants, hotels are there. Sanman restaurant is famous for local Malwani cuisine (fish is staple food)

– Public toilet & bathing facility is absent in beach

 What to do in town?

– It’s good for a day trip. Besides beach walk, one may enjoy a horse ride on beach (Rs 100 per person on sharing basis)

– Sunset is what Alibag is most visited for. So beach is crowded in evening.

– It has got few water sports option, but it’s not worth.

– In low tides, beach recess by some 2 kms, leaving wet solid sand, with photogenic sand patterns. This is when one can walk to fort Colaba.

– Fort Colaba is some 400 years old fort built by Marathas to defend against enemies coming from sea. It is some 1 km inside the sea & is assessable bare foot or by horse ride during low tides. The fort is worth spending few hours.

– Alibag beach water is not for bathing, first because of pollution & second because it is very silent. The sea got hardly any powerful waves coming.

– Magnetic observatory (2 kms from beach) is another place to visit, if time permits.

– If want to get away from crowded Alibag beach, just head north or south wards & you will get less crowded sea shore.

– Eat in Sanman restaurant, famous for Malwani cuisine. For non-vegetarians, sea food is must here.

 Alibag-Kashid stretch:

– Explore Revdanda fort

– Korlai fort

– Wandeli beach

KASHID:

Rocky part of Kashid Beach

Rocky part of Kashid Beach

– Just head 32 kms south of Alibag & you get a beautiful & very pleasant Kashid beach.

– The Alibag to Kashid stretch is dotted with sea resorts & sea facing hotels. Roads is descent, but only when it is not crowded.

– Kashid also gets filled up in weekends & holiday season. So booking in advance is good.

– Kashid has got relatively more options (& better) for stay, compared to Alibag, so it is better to do a night halt in Kashid, rather in Alibag.

– ATM is rare & credit cards mostly un-acceptable for obvious reasons.

– There are many beaches in Kashid & one can easily avoid the more crowded beach. The best one is one near Kashid Beach villa.

– We stayed in Sai krupa guest house (rating: 5/5), near Kashid beach Villa. It was neat & clean with excellent home-made food & service. They charged Rs 1200 for 5 people in one big room. It has got parking, hot water & eating facility. 

Hotel Sai krupa, Kashid

Hotel Sai krupa, Kashid

What to do in Kashid?

– Water sports, Bullock ride (Rs 100), Camel ride(Rs 100), Horse ride(Rs 100)…it’s all there on menu.

– Water sports like water bike, Banana ride (150per person) etc. are available.

– Dirt bikes are also available.

– Do Bargain all these sports & rides.

– Eat on local Malwani cuisine & sea food.

Further south of Kashid, is another beach resort called Murud, whose details will be given, once I visit. So till then happy vacation & safe journey.

OUR TRIP (2nd & 3rd Feb-2013):

Who all: Me, Manish, Ganesh, Abanish & Shivraju.

In? : Ganesh’s horse: Tata Indica

Trip Meter: ~250 kms.

Driving time: Saturday-4:00 pm to 6:30 pm: to reach Alibag. Then 8pm to 9:15 pm to reach Kashid.

– Night halt in Kashid (Hotel Sai krupa near Kashid beach Villa)

– Ate (not me) some mouth watering fish (Pomplet & kasturi) & Malwani thali.

– Next day played Beach volleyball (rented ball for Rs 50 per hour) for 3 hours & then bathing. The beach was neat & clean with relatively calm sea waves. Biggest advantage, it was less crowded & so very peaceful & neat.

– Lunched again on Malwani thali & started towards Mumbai by 2:30 PM. Reached our destination in Airoli by 5:30PM.

– Overall it was a very relaxing weekend with friends, with only one regret: I couldn’t avoid littering by my friends.

– Overall 8/10 to this vacation (would have been 10/10 had we not done littering). THANKS YOU friends, wish such more in future.

The troupe relaxing in Kashid

The troupe relaxing in Kashid

URGENT REQUEST:

 1) Alibag is getting dirtier n dirtier because of our Littering habits. Please avoid littering. Segregate & use dustbin.

2) Roads are narrow with frequent patches, so drive responsibly

3) Boozing is okay, until you are on your own. Littering after boozing, creating nuisance is not a sign of a civilized person. Please avoid. It is a big problem in whole of this stretch.

4) Please respect local food, customs & traditions.

So at last, BE A EXPLORATIVE & NOT EXPLOITIVE TOURIST. WISH U A HAPPY & SAFE VACATION.

 

Agarwal Packers n Movers….a Review January 3, 2013

A snapshot of packing

A snapshot of packing

This blog is about my experience with Agarwal packers & movers.

Overall rating: 8/10. They may be costly, but it’s worth the house hold valuables.

My recommendations: Highly recommended

My shifting details:

–          From Bangalore to Navi Mumbai

–          Total expenses: Rs. 19000

–          Total baggage: 28

–          Major items: 32 inch LCD TV, Disassembled 5 X 3 feet TV stand, 6/4 disassembled bed, LPG Stove. So NO refrigerator, NO vehicle, NO washing machine, NO other valuable items.

–          7 days free storage in destination, there after Rs. 150 per day. If negotiate well, they can make this free as well.

–          My items remained in there (Navi Mumbai) go-down for 2 weeks

–          Customer service, call ratings: “Beyond my expectations”

–          Timely delivery. My items reached Navi Mumbai within 3 days.

I had done my research in internet for shifters. And so I had minimal expectations from all. From research, Agarwal packers got maximum thumps up from their customers, albeit just 30%. Rest all scored from 0-20%. So I decided to get quotes from top two: Agarwal packers & Leo packers. Both of them quoted more or less same (around 17K), so I decided to go for Agarwal packers (although marginally higher) & boy they at least did not disappoint.

–          Super packing, with special care for fragile items

–          Super 5 layer packing for Television (last one a wooden layer)

–          Synthetic packing all 28 items (see photo)

–          Well numbered, for easy tracking of items

–          Good team work, where each individual knew what they had to do.

–          Within 3 hours they had emptied my house while taking & also while delivering

Some cautions/advice to be taken for better service:

–          Talk politely & friendly. But do negotiate on quote.

–          Tell truth while asking for quotations. Don’t hide any item. They may trouble, if something major is found during packing & was not told.

–          Tips to shifters for some reason are expected.

–          Better do packing of dresses etc. on your own. They can kind of dump these items.

–          There are many fake shifters of same name (I found 3 on internet), so beware. Below is link of original: http://www.agarwalpackers.in/moversandpackers/packersandmovers.aspx

–          Flammable items like match sticks etc., liquids which may spill are not allowed.

–          Give a thought while assigning insurance value to items. (3% of quote is compulsory. Further division of 3% amount is left to customer…so give a thought on division carefully)

Overall, I am very much satisfied with their service. Although a bit expensive, I still recommend it highly over others, as extra cost is worth the valuables you own.

 

Omus web Blog: 2012 in review January 2, 2013

Filed under: feedback — omus @ 12:44 pm
Tags: , , ,

Here’s an excerpt:

19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 68,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

 

NH4 or AH47…My Mumbai Entry December 26, 2012

On way to Mumabi fron Bangalore

NH4: Bangalore-Mumbai: Photo in Belgaum, Karnataka

This is the blog about my bike trip from Bangalore to Navi Mumbai via NH4, which recentlyhas been renamed as AH47 . The highwayconnects two metropolis city: Chennai & Mumbai.

My journey: Bangalore to Mumbai ( 12+ 6=18 hrs of biking).

Driving time: 12+6 =18 hrs.

Total distance: 950 kms

Bangalore to Mumbai is part of Golden Quadrilateral & so throughout it’s a 4 lane highway, with some exceptions. It is to be remembered, NH4 from Bangalore to Chennai is not part of Golden Quadrilateral, but nevertheless, that section of road is also superb, of which you can find more details in my blog: https://omus.wordpress.com/2010/11/23/bike-trip-bangalore-nellore-bangalore/

Bangalore-Mumbai-NH4 route

Bangalore-Mumbai-NH4 route

Coming back to my journey from Bangalore to Mumbai on my Avenger 200cc, it has my personal record of travelling maximum distance in one day: ~750 kms from Bangalore to Satara. It took me 12.5 hrs. of driving from 5:30AM to 6:00PM.

I will describe the whole leg of journeys in sections:

DAY1: Bangalore to Satara (~750 kms-12.5 hrs.)

1)      Bangalore to Tumkur (~90kms-2 hrs.): With completion of expressway, once a hell road has turned into a sexy driving experience. But it’s best to drive early morning, when traffic is least. It’s not easy to exit for food or toilet or fuel.

2)      Tumkur to Chitradurga (~150kms:2.5 hrs.): Again a very sexy road with most part became or becoming 6 lane highway. Good thing is that the village section of the roads cemented on both sides, there-by increasing safety. Also good nos. of skywalks have been provided for pedestrians to cross the road.

3)      Chitradurga-Davengere-Ranebenur-Hubli (200kms-3.5hrs): Here some construction is going on, to convert to 6 lane or provide safe underpasses & so frequently service road turns into highway. Nevertheless, the service roads were also good enough to drive 40-50 kmph speed. Nearing Chitradurga, one can see miles of wind farms, a good site to see in India.

4)      Hubli- Belgaum (100 kms- 1.2 hrs): Hubli bypass is a 2 lane highway & got decent traffic because of industrial areas in & around. But once out, a very sexy cemented highway starts. One can easily zip on 100kmph. I was on outskirts of Belgaum around 2 pm (against my plan of 6pm). The new Karnataka assembly of Belgaum, is standing right on highway & is a sight to watch the majestic palace like building in middle of vast grassland. After having lunch & some rest, I started towards Kolhapur.

20121128_144055

Karnataka assembly-Belgaum- right on NH4

5)      Belgaum to Kolhapur (~110kms-1.5 hrs.): Again most part of the 4 lane highway is cemented, allowing good speed. This is where my mobile went on roaming mode, as I crossed over to Maharashtra. Quality of road somewhat is somewhat inferior compared to that in Karnataka. Anyways I reached Kolhapur by 4:30PM. I was remembeing all that famous Kolhapuri: Chappal & veg Kolhapuri. I decided to continue towards Satara.

20121128_135355

My lunch in a highway Rajasthani dhaba on a jute khatiya

6)      Kolhapur to Satara (~130kms-2 hrs.): I started from Kolhapur targeting to stretch till Pune. But as sun went down & heavy traffic on road, coupled with some inferior quality of road & drive fatigue, I decided to drive till Satara & stop for the day. I reached Satara by 6:15PM & stopped on a highway hotel (Raju hotel: Rs. 600 per night).

 DAY 2: Satara to Navi Mumbai (Nerul) (~220 kms-6 hrs)

7)      Satara to Pune (~100kms-2hrs): I started around 6:30AM, a foggy chilly morning in Satara. As I was close to my destination, with lot of time in hand, I decided to drive lazily & get some feel of Maharashtra. I was amazed to real estate development in & around Satara, which I think is because of Mumbai-Pune proximity effect. After having a heavy breakfast on Maharashtrian dish of Missal-Pav & Poha, I continued my journey & reached Pune around office going hours of 9 AM. I was expecting lot of traffic in Pune, but because of no signal on bypass, I zipped through the city & reached on other side of Pune by 10 AM.

8)      Pune to Nerul (Navi Mumbai) (~120kms-3.5hrs): Bikes are not allowed on Mumbai-Pune expressway & I had to stick to NH-4. But it turned out to be a good one, as there was hardly any traffic on road (as all traffic went to expressway). I would suggest all to drive on NH4, if speed driving is not the requirement + it saves lot of toll money. At some part quality of road is inferior & also some part is a 2 lane highway. Nevertheless, this is a picturesque part of the whole journey, with hills, tunnels to be crossed. I think, in my career of Biking, it’s first time I (personally) drove in a tunnel. There are 3 tunnels on way from Pune to Mumbai. Also one passes through the Bollywood made famous, “so called hill stations” of Matheran, Khandala, Lonavala. I reached Panvel, entry point of Navi Mumbai by 11:30AM. Now traffic starts getting worse here, with some bad roads & signals & some careless driving.

Most interesting part happened here, when I entered the expressway in Panvel, & then after entering 100 mtrs, there was a board reading “No-Entry” for 2 wheelers & living 4 wheelers. It was like putting ladies toilet board inside the toilet. Foolish authorities.

Like a long distance train slowing down just before the destination, I also decreased my speed to 20-30 kmph, as I had to search my way to Nerul. Finally I reached my friend’s house around 1:30PM & most interesting incident of my 950kms journey happened here. My bike won’t start in-front of entry on my friend’s housing complex. I had to pull my bike for last 60 meters ;-). GOD is indeed Humorous, but he is GREAT.THANK YOU GOD.

I will remember this journey for following reasons:

–          It marked my entry of Indian city of dreams, Mumbai.

–          My personal record of driving longest in a single day (750Kms surpassing 650Kms of Dec-2009)

–          When authorities give warning of “No-entry” after you have entered expressway…Ridiculous.

–          My bike won’t start & thus I had to pull it for last 60 meters of the journey. Thank God, it didnot happen in between the journey.

On a highway dhaba- near belgaum

On a highway dhaba- near belgaum

Cemented NH4..also seen is Belgaum's Karnataka assembly.

Cemented NH4..also seen is Belgaum’s Karnataka assembly.

 

ADIEU TO BANGALORE November 23, 2012

Filed under: Personal — omus @ 12:00 am
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Bye Bye Bangalore City

Finally after 6.5 yrs, it’s time to say good bye to Bangalore & to GE. It was 4th March 2006 when I came to Bangalore for first time & I won’t say it was “Love at first sight”. It just felt like another Indian metropolis city. I cleared my interview & so was back again on 4th June 2006, but this time for a long stint. Before that I always thought, 4 years of hostel life in NIT Rourkela were most happening part of my life, but these 6.5years in so called “Garden City” proved me wrong. These 6.5 years has made me a complete Man, a person with more experience of life events, situations, who can handle any adverse moment of life.

I am proud to say that, I am the person with longest stay in Bangalore from our 2006 NITR batch, with people coming in & going out. I have shared house rent with 25 even friends. Having stayed in many parts of Bangalore (Whitefield, BTM, HSR, Sarjapur junction on Outer Ring Road, Kodihalli), I can proudly be called a Bangalore travel guide. I have seen areas of Marthahalli, Whitefield, Outer ring road grow in front of my eyes, but regret about my failure to get my hands wet in this “flowing Ganges” of booming real estate (Hindi proverb). I was one of the few in non-software job in Silicon Valley. Whenever I say, I work in Bangalore, by default it is assumed that I work in a software company & it was always difficult on my part to explain that I was not in any software or IT company. Sometimes I even gave up  (I remember my telephonic discussion with HSBC Credit card agent, where he denied me CC, the moment I said I am not in any software company..ridiculous). Nevertheless, in this environment of high attrition rate among my fellow netizens, I know 6 years is a very long stint in a company. But, GE-JFWTC is a company where you stay for lifetime. It is definitely THE best working place in India & I was very lucky to have it as my first job. But then as saying goes “some good things cannot stay permanent in your life” & so time has come to say it bye.

GE-JFWTC, Bangalore, is the company to work for especially if one is of electrical & Mechanical background. The work environment is just superb, relaxing & thought provoking. Salary may be median of industry standards, but other facilities & environment, they provide is just priceless. Jokingly, we often say, the place is perfect for retirement.

 Bangalore..what do I say? I have got mixed emotions for it. On good side is, it’s hill station type weather, largest boiling pot of culture n people (after Mumbai & Delhi) and relatively good n cool people. It does provide purse emptying shopping, dining & pubbing experience. And the best part is, it’s centered geographical location in South India, which makes it perfect base camp to explore all of South India on weekends. On downside is its crumbling infrastructure, looting attitude of transport agencies. The worst things are the back breaking humps which are anywhere & everywhere. In nut shell, Bangalore is one of the paradises, which will soon fall victim to human greed.

Life for me in Bangalore has been through lots of ups & downs. Ups with weekend parties with friends, long drive with them, in-house smiley ball cricket, lots of dating n flirting, lot of rewards n recognition in professional life, two foreign trip opportunities. Down with daily traffic jams, couple of robberies, broken heart & few unfulfilled dreams. Nevertheless, it has taught me priceless lessons, which will be there with me all the life. I can definitely now say, I am now a complete Human being, who has known the purpose of life: is to perform your duties without attachments.

So what I will miss (but no attachments)? Personally, I will miss by bus stop casual flirting, I used to have in BTM (Upudi garden stop), in malls, pubs n restaurants, fast rides on NICE road, late night drive to Hosur to have a cup of Tea & very early morning rides to Nandi Hills & ISKCON temple. Definitely, will miss the most pampering working environment of India (JFWTC-Bangalore), weather of Bangalore & last but not least my friends in Bangalore. It is you all people, who made my life in Bangalore beautiful & sometimes sour. Thanks for your company all these years, late night khattis n smiley cricket. I know our roads will cross again & again, till death terminates the roads. So, no good bye to you guys.

So gone are those days. What happened in Bangalore, stays back in Bangalore. I will just take away all the sweet memories n lessons learnt. Looking forward to another new world. Here I come MUMBAI.

 

Windows 8: Everything at Once (lyrics) November 6, 2012

Link to video ad: http://video.lyricsmint.com/video/windows8tvc/

Following is the lyrics of Windows 8 ad being played on Indian television. Able to note it down after continuously watching it. I simply love it.

As cool as a tree,
As scary as the sea.

As warm as the sun ,
As silly as fun.

As hot as fire,
Cold as ice.

Sweet as sugar,
& everything nice

oh!oh!…All i wannaa be
All I wanna be
it’ssss everything at once.

Do not how Windows 8 is, but ad definitely is superb (8/10).

 

BARFI September 20, 2012

BARFI..one time must watch movie

My Verdict: 7.5/10. One time must watch. People with Romantic taste buds will definitely give higher rating.

My take:

– BARFI action is heavely influenced by “Charlie Chaplin” acts. Also few of the comedy themes are directly taken from Chrlie Chaplin series. The set is heavily influenced by “Sawariya” movie, with lot of Blue & Black background. With some thrill of Bengali novel, adding emotional drawbacks of being dumb n deaf + romance angle + well direction, makes a superb movie to watch.

– So it took: Acts from Charlie Chaplin & movie BLACK, some background of SAWARIYA, some Bengali novel thrill with seasoning of good direction in making of a sweet movie BARFI.

– Ranbir Kapoor, as usual was 10/10 on acting. With diversity of roles already done, I am sure my conviction of him being next “Big B” will come true.

– Priyanka Chopra & debutant Ileana D Cruz were also great.

– It is very well directed movie by Anurag Basu. Although with lot of to n fro between past n present, all facts were well connected, very un-typical of a bollywood movie. Most of the times in a thriller Bollywood movie, lot of gaps remains & facts remain unconnected, but BARFI certainly is an exception.

– Movie beside borrowing from other inspirations, too has many Innovations: like very start address to audience of theatre, use of railway track & so on.

OVERALL, a must watch movie. Although, I personally won’t go second time to theatre to watch it, but would definitely wait for it’s WORLD TV PREMIERE 😉

 

On your mark, All set, Go….Goa [18th-20th August-2012] August 26, 2012

Goa defined in a photo…credits to Avijit Mishra

The above photo very much define the majority of taste of vacation in Goa. Although it is much more than that.

This was my 3rd trip to Goa, but my first blog on it. Although this blog will just another drop in travel blogs on Goa, but will try to pour in my all three travel experiences, to make it as comprehensive & detail, to help future visitors to Goa.

The first one was with my office team, with base at Varca Beach resort. If you have money, this is one of the best bets to stay in. Second trip base was in Dona Paulo, heart of Goa government, thus very neat & clean by Indian standards. Stayed there in IOCL guest house, “just awesome”: two wors to describe it. Third trip base was in Calangute beach, one of the busiest beach of Goa.

How to reach Goa?

Goa is well connected by Rail, road & air with all major cities. Budget way of reaching Goa is by road (bus) or by rail. Konkan railways is one of the most scenic rail routes of India. Goa is overnight journey (12-15 hrs) from major cities like Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mangalore.

How to explore Goa?

If you want to explore Goa at its maximum, rented bikes are the best way to do it. All major beaches have rented bike shop & so availability of bike won’t be a problem (DL is must). Bikes from 100cc to 500cc are available. Avenger (200cc), a cruise bike, seems to be the most popular rented bike, which costs Rs 300 per day. It’s mileage can be 20-30 kms/liter. Acitva (125cc) costs Rs 200 per day. These price are as on 18-20th August-2012 & may vary depending upon seasonal demand.

Calangute beach, Baga beach, Anjuna beach, Panaji are dotted with rented bike shops.

Facilities in Goa:

– All big mobile operators are present.

– Panaji, Madgaon, Vasco, Marmagoa are biggest cities of Goa with all required facilities. Dabolim is the name of airport, Vasco & Madgaon are biggest railway junctions connecting Goa with rest of India

– Panaji is major bus stop for all long route buses. Situated close to Mandovi river bridge, bus stop also connects to all places of goa by small rickety buses. But local buses frequency can be very erradic.

Where to stay in Goa?

There are options n options. Options of all kinds depending upon budget & needs. From cheap shacks to luxury 5 star resorts. Home stay options to hotels. During peak season, one can find anywhere & everywhere in Goa. In off season, Calangute, Baga beach, Anjuna beach are the ones that are open. We stayed in a 3BHK-home stay 300 mtrs from Calangute beach (Rs 1400 per day -Aug’12). In my first visit to Goa (July-2007), I stayed at Varca Beast resort (Rs 4000 for two people). Second visit, I stayed in IOCL guest house free of cost (Dona Paulo).

In peak season, prices are very high & during off season prices are least.

What to do in Goa?

Goa is more about partying, chilaxing. If you are for like Indian cultural tour or religious tour or meditation tour, Goa certainly is not the place. For Indians, Goa is the best place to break shackles of traditions & break sef imposed boundaries. If your taste is:

– Drink, eat, read n chilax: Just grab a seat in one of the many sea beach shacks.

– Explore places: Get a rented bike n helmet & fill in ur petrol to expore 100 kms of coastline.

– Historical tour: Centuries old churches & forts will keep you busy for couple of days

– Sea food: Goa makes sure, you are spoilt of choices.

– Getting Tattoos (temporary, permanent)

In short, whether it is famiy, friends, honeymooners or GF-BF combo, Goa is one of the best place to go in India.

Tourists Season in Goa:

Tourist season is function of weather patterns. Winter months (Nov to Feb) are peak times & expect everything overrated during this period. February to June are too hot to visit Goa & June to October are monsoon months. During monsoon more than 50% of hotes & restaurants gets closed & is cheapest time to visit Goa. Infact many beaches like Anjuna, Vagator, Candolim, Varca etc. gets drowned in Sea during monsoon.

Best time to visit depends upon taste. Having visited during Jan & August, I found Goa beautiful both times. Jan is golden & August it’s green.

Places to Explore:

Unofficially Goa has been divided in two tourists zone: North Goa & South Goa. Anything north of Panaji is North Goa & South of Panaji is South Goa. North Goa is more popular among tourists, with hotels remaining open during off season as well. In South Goa, besides major beaches like Colva, many hotels n resturants remain closed during off season.

North Goa: Calangute Beach, Fort Aguada, Chapora Fort, Chapora River, Morjim Beach, Candolim Beach, Baga Beach, Anjuna Beach

South Goa: Colva beach, Varca Beach, Palolem Beach, Benaulim beach

Panaji : Dona Paulo, Velha Goa, Mandovi River, Miramar Beach

East Goa: Dudhsagar falls, Mahaveer Jain Wildlife sanctuary

Goa as base: Gokarna (100 Kms), Dandeli (100 Kms), Terekhol Fort (50 Kms) [all from Panaji]

How to plan travel in Goa?

Below plan is based if one stays in Panaji or any where in North Goa.

Day 1/2: Explore North Goa beaches. Morjim beach, Anjuna Beach, Vagator beach, Candolim Beach, Baga beach, Calangute beach, Fort Aguada, Chapora fort. Fort Aguada, Chapora Fort (famousy known as DCH point among younsters), Calangute Beach, Morjim Beach are must visit places.

Calangute Beach is most popular among all these & remain hyper active even late night. It is even open during off season as well & has very good eating options as well. Lobo restaurant & Sea Queen restaurant on Calangute are good places to eat. Besides this, there are few more beach shacks which remain open during off season as well. Om restaurant, Kajal restaurant,Spicy restaurant  near Baga circle, remain open late in night. All basic necesseties (except petrol pump…4KM from Calangute enroute to Panaji) like ATM, hotels, restaurants,rented bike shop, medicine shop etc. are availabe in Calangute Beach. This is one of the best place to stay, if crowd is not a problem.

Baga beach (must visit): Another popular beach, 2 km from Calangute, which remain open late night even during off season. Beach donot get drowned in peak monsoon as well & so many of hotels n restaurants do remain open in off season. Calangute to Baga beach are dotted with hotels, restaurants, Home stays, rented bike shops n all tourist feeding infrastructure. Baga beach bosts of Tito’s, one of the most popular restaurant cum staying option cum partying place cum pub of Goa. It is one of the place for who’s who. It’s disco is only for couples. Baga beach has quite good number of shacks, which remain open in off season as well.

Fort Aguada (must visit): One of the oldest fort in Goa built in 16th Century. The sea facing granite stone fort sits on a hill top & is a good spot as a sunset viewpoint. Often confused as DCH point, but it is not. Getting to seashore by hiking through vegetation, beside light house, can be rewarding in terms of peace & views. It has few snacking options only. No entry fee, no parking fee.

Fort Chapora (must visit): Resembling like Fort Aguada, this granite fort also sits on a hill top, overlooking Arabian sea & Chapora River. This place became famous because of Bollywood Movie Dil Chahta Hai & among young Indian Hippies, it is popuarly known as DCH point. Personally, I like place better than Fort Aguada, because is slightly less crowded & has got superb 360 degree view. Again this has great sunset views. The place has hardly any shops for snacks or water, so do carry your own. Fort Chapora is some 15 Kms from Calangute.

Morjim Beach (must visit): Morjim beach sits on conjunction of River Chapora & Arabian sea. The beach can be seen from Chapora fort. Very few people visit this beach & so it has hardly any tourist infrastructure (just saw only 2 resorts). Since few people visit, it is relatively clean beach & a driving beach. Yes, one can drive in this beach, as it has hard sand, which can sustain weight of vehicles. Driving in the waves can be fun (but beware, salty water is very very bad of health of vehicle). As river Chapora gets drained here, it is beautiful to see transition of strong wave to calm waves at the same place. But other side is, river brings with it lots of human waste n pollution, which gets deposited on beach.Distance & this pollution could be other reason why few  people visit this place. Nevertheless, it is one of the place to have solitary time.

Terekhol Fort: This fort is the first thing as one crosses Goa to Maharastra. Although, I have not been there, it is said to be very beautiful fort overseeing Arabian Sea. One has to cross Terekhol River to reach this place, which can be done by free ferry service. There is hardly any tourist infrastructure there.

Candolim Beach: This beach gets almost drowned in Monsoon & has a fort. Most of the area is occupied by Taj Vivanta hotel. Besides beach, there is nothing much. In off season, it has deserted looks.

Anjuna & Vagator beach: Again very popular among tourist, but it seems beach gets drowned in Monsoon. It has got decent tourist infrastructure like Hotels, restaurants n bike renting facility. Anjuna beach is famous for its Wednesday market. Enroute to Anjuna has got many posh restaurants & high end staying options, Taj Vivanta & Kingfisher to name a few. We had lunch in Tin-Tin restaurant, which serve American food plus some live English Music. Fisherman’s Cove on Calangute to Anjuna is a very good place to have food & drinks.

Day 3: Panaji, Miramar Beach, Dona Paulo, Velha Goa, Mandovi River cruise.

Panaji: Capital of Goa & situated on junction of Mandovi River & Arabnian sea, this is one of the neatest cities in India. Home to high end hotels & restaurants, besides housing colonial style roads, houses & shops. The road running parallel to Sea & river, has got few museums & children parks. It is heaven for shopalcoholics.

Miramar Beach: Popular among among the localites, this somewhat dirty beach, sits on junction of Mandovi river & Arabian Sea. It is site of evening Indian snacking action. Water is too dirty to take a bath here.

Dona Paulo: Close to Governer house, this Arabian sea facing view point is not a sea beach & is popular among localites because of its proximity to Panaji. Some water sports activites has started here, but not worth spending on. This place has got few eating options.

Velha Goa/Old Goa (must visit): As the name suggests, it is the oldest part of Goa. Situated 10 Kms from Panaji & 10 kms upstream of Mandovi river, Velha Goa once rivaled Lisbon (capital of Portugal). It houses 16th century big churches & gets very busy on prayer days. Road to Panaji to Velha Goa is also a scenic package in itself, with once side of road running parallel to voluminous Mandovi river & other side dotted with colonial style houses. NH-4A bisects Velha Goa & so be careful of fast highway traffic. It has got numerous eating + guiding option.

Mandovi River cruise (must visit, if 1st time): Near the main river bridge, on Panaji, is action place for cruise boats n ships. It gets very crowded in evening & it is advisabe to book your tickets before hand. Cost may vary depending on quality of ship. Idea is to spend couple of hour in River Mandovi, as ship goes till mouth of the river. Again best time to get into this cruise ship is sunset time & no wonder that is most crowded time. Food n drinks inside ship is over rated & also beware of touts. Royal casino is most costliest among all these & not sure how it is?

Day 4/5: South Goa: Margagoa, Madgaon, Vasco-Da-Gama, Benaulim beach, Colva beach, Varca beach, Palolem beach, Agonda beach, Cabo-De-Rama fort

South Goa is mirror image of North Goa, with exception being it is longer & less crowded compared to North Goa. Mirror image because it aso houses beaches & few forts. The long coastline of South Goa boasts of many 5 star hotels like Inter Continental, Taj, Leela & so on. Many of these resorts have their own private beach. South Goa also boasts of biggest cities of Goa: Madgaon, Marmagao & Vasco-Dagama. Marmagao is one of the largest ports of India. There are many few other small beaches, but with minimum tourist infrastructure & gets drowned in monsoon season.

Colva beach has got some water sports options during peak season & is a white sand beach. It has few options to stay right on beach.

Day 6: Dudhsagar Falls (must visit): The fall is the 2nd highest waterfall in India. Situated on Karnataka-Goa border, 100 Kms from Panaji, it is at its best in Monsoon season. It can get off in peak monsoon by road. Best way is to go Castle Rock station & do some trekking to reach the falls. Trekking is the best way to get some photogenic views of falls & is strongy recommended during monsoon season, when it is at its best. But it is important to go in a group & be well informed about the place. Situated in Western ghat jungles, mobile network, finding food & water can be a problem.

Other near by places to explore from Goa are Gokarna & Dandeli forests. Gokarna is a temple town & carry tag of cheap Goa. Nevertheless, it is a sexy place to visit.

Gokarna: https://omus.wordpress.com/2012/07/16/gokarna-trip-14th-15th-july2012/

Dandeli: Situated 50Kms further east of Dudhsagar falls, in state of Karnataka, it famous for Wildlife & river rafting. Off from many tourist map, it can be very reaxing place to visit.

In short, Goa is perfect place for a relaxing vacation. It is a place where, group of bachelors guys envy couples & boys in couple would envy bachelors 😉 . For Indians at least, it is a must visit place, at least once in lifetime.

SOUVENIRS from Goa:

– In you/your friends/family  do experiment booz: Feni can be a good option. Available in Coconut & Cashewnut flavour, Feni is the local drink of Goa.

– Handicrafts from Anjuna beach market. But do bargain.

– For Indian families, cashewnut can be a good option.

– For hippies, Goa is flooded with “rock” type cloths.

– Lastly for self, Tattoo can a good option.

Lastly few cautions:

– Avoid swimming in sea during Monsoon season (June-September).

– Donot drink & drive.

– Wear helmet & drive. Cops can catch, especially in Panaji. Also it is for your own safety. Roads are narrow & driving with caution is best option.

– Make sure to check all necessary papers in rented Bike.

– Taking drugs is illegal. Think twice before you take.

– Touts are in plenty, better to avoid them

– Get permanent tattoo in a safe place. Do not compromise on hygiene.

– Lastly please donot trash. All beaches & forts are littered with broken booz bottles & littered with plastic bottles & chip packets. Please be an explorative & not an exploitive tourist. If cannot be one, better stay indoors.

WISH YOU A HAPPY & SAFE VACATION. PLEASE DONOT LITTER.

At DCH Point….Chapora fort

 

Innovation … July 28, 2012

Filed under: Personal — omus @ 4:42 pm
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I work in a company, which is known to be one of the most Innovative company of the world. And I feel, it is true (but it is not No.1 definitely). I say that, not because I work in that company, but because when I compare with other companies. Pundits also call my company as a evolutionary company & not a revolutionary. Again I feel this is also true, simple fact that all technology it boasts of, is actually through acquisition. And despite this, it is called an Innovative company. What it means Innovation are of two types: “Evolutionary” Innovation & “Revolutionary” Innovation. Former being an “Increment Innovation” & later being “Market Destructive Innovation”. Former is less risky & give steady flow of increment, whereas later gives risky & kind of “make or break” money making strategy.

Now the reason why I am writing this article is because of Innovative culture flourishing in one of the company, I know quite a bit. The working environment is perfect to think freely, randomly. It’s very good, but then it has it’s other side as well, which reminds me that everything has two sides (agreeing with my theory “Law of conservation” : https://omus.wordpress.com/2011/01/29/law-of-conservation/).

Innovation there, is most often being, infact officially, being measured by number of patents, number of publications etc. So more the patents a person has means he/she is more Innovative. Yes, it is true to some extent, but not always. It has environment, which promotes you think differently, it has got several platforms to pitch in your increment Innovation (economics is must), several trainings to foster that mindset, receptive people & awards for Innovating. The last aspect is what is brining on some negatives. Now, people force themselves to pitch-in with something, just to brag the monetary award. And who genuinely innovates with spirit of Innovation, are being accused, that they file patent just to get monetary funds. Now that’s serious, it is leading to what I call “Innovation Hoax“. It is creating a culture where thought process of making money is fostering thinking culture & not the zeal to improve technology. Also it is discouraing genuine “out of box” thinkers. This can be dangerous in long term: a scenario where return on investment is very less, because most of the ideas will be fake/hoax. If I take my own case, when I propose something, my only & only aim is to improve technology. In fact, I had rejected mine own “n” number of proposals, just because, I was not convinced, technically or economically. But when I do feel, it does bring something good to technology, I try to go distance: discuss with people to get other thought angles etc. Also when technical team gives it a thums down, I kind of agree. I just tell myself, I fail to see angle which the more experience technical team can see.

All this remind of Bhagwad Gita’s main teaching, which seems to be applicable even to Innovation culture: “Just think, donot worry about it’s fruit, if intention & dedication are on right path, end result will be good”.

 

Fearing about……..

Filed under: Uncategorized — omus @ 3:08 pm

– Death of the last person who had witnessed India’s independence (2040s)

– Death of the last person who had participated in India’s freedom movement (may be 2030s)

– Death of the the last person to be born on 15th August, 1947 (may be sometime in 2050s)

– Death of lyricist like Javed Akhtar, Gulzar…who will write “meaningful” songs.