Friday, 31 January 2014

Four beach treks in Karnataka you must do!

This post is dedicated to beach junkies............

Have you heard of beach trek? 

You might have and possibly would have also done one. The coast of Karnataka in South India has some excellent and unspoilt beaches. Each one is unique which makes trekking along the sea very exciting. We haven't done it yet and is in our bucket list. We are sharing from the experiences of some of our friends who have done it.

Start exploring before the summer sets in. Here are the four beach treks along the Arabian sea.

Trek No 1 - Gokarna to Honnavar

Route - Gokarna - Kudle beach - Om Beach - Half Moon beach - Paradise beach - Bellikan - Cross by ferry over Aghanashini - Barka beach - Long beach - Sangam beach - SemiCircular beach - Cross backwaters at Kumta by boat - Dhareshwar beach - Ramanagindi beach - Tarebagilu beach - Karki - Honnavar

Distance - Around 45 KMs

Best time to trek - Winter months from November till February

Time - Two days. Night camp/stay on the beach

Half Moon Beach 
Paradise Beach
Trek Tips

a) Gokarna is well connected by rail and bus to different parts of the country. The nearest airport is the Dabolim airport, Goa.
b) This trek route is interspersed with small hillocks along the sea. Not difficult to manoeuvre but one has to be careful as the rocks may be slippery.
c) From Karki village take an autorickshaw/bus to reach Honnavar.

Trek 2 - Bhatkal to Maravanthe

Route - Sodigadde - Alvegadde - Cross river by boat - Dombe - Baindur - Cross river by auto to Uppunda beach - Koderi - Navunda - Maravanthe

Distance - Around 35 KMs

Best time to do the trek - Winter months from November till February

Time - Two days. Night camp/stay on the beach

Uppunda Beach
Baindur Beach
Trek Tips

a) Bhatkal is well connected by rail and bus to different parts of the country. The nearet airport is Mangalore. It will be good to hire a auto at Bhatkal to reach the beach at Sodigadde. It will save time.
b) There is a need to cross stream at Alvegadde. You will always find local fishermen helping out. At Baindur, take an autorickshaw and cross the river to Uppunda and start trek from the beach there.
c) Unlike Trek 1, there are not much of hilly terrain in this route. 
d) It will be good to break day 1 in Baindoor which has Forest Inspection bungalow and also hotels. 

Trek No 3 - Gokarna to Ankola

Route - Belekeri - Deshina Halli - Gabth Halli - Shedikuli - Cross Nadibagh stream - Belambar - Manjugoni - Cross Gangavalli river by boat - Gokarna

Distance - Approximately 20 KMs

Best time to do the trek - Winter months from November till February

Time - Two days. Night camp/stay on the beach

Belambar beach
Trek tips

a) Gokarna is well connected by rail and bus to different parts of the country. The nearest airport is the Dabolim airport, Goa.
b) Belekeri is at a distance of 10 KMs from Ankola. Catch a local bus or an auto to reach the place.

Trek No 4 - Manki to Bhatkal

Route - Manki - Murudeshwar - Kaikini - Bengre - Bhatkal

Distance - 25 KMs

Best time to trek - Winter months from November till February

Time - Two days. Night camp/stay in Murudeshwar

Sanabhavi beach near Murdeshwar
Trek Tips

a) Though Manki is on Konkan railway, it would be better to reach Honnavar and then take a bus/taxi to Manki. The nearest airport is at Mangalore.
b) This is a long stretch of beach walk with no hills on the route.

General Tips for all beach treks

a) Start the trek at dawn and finish by 3 PM and camp. Enjoy the beach in the evening.
b) The day temperatures will be high even in winter with high humidity levels. Carry enough water and drink on the way.
c) Always walk on the trails which are parallel to the beach.
d) Walking on loose sand is slow. Good trekking shoe is useful.
e) You will find fisherman's houses on the way who will always be helpful for small needs.
f) Carry food along as you will not get anything on the way.
g) Good hat and sun screen lotion is a must.

If you love beaches, you should not miss the following posts in this blog

Five lovely beaches in India to visit before summer!

Surfing, Snorkeling and Scuba diving in India

12 things to do in Goa you haven't done before!

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Thursday, 30 January 2014

Skywatch Friday - Sunset on Baindur beach

Since this is the beach season on the blog, why not post a beautiful picture of sunset on this friday?

We clicked this on Baindur beach in Karnataka. The sky seemed to be clear and we were expecting a good sunset. The waves were still. It was a lovely evening. 

Talking about beaches, have you checked this post on this blog? More details on Baindur can be found here.

Five lovely beaches in this to visit before this summer!

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Andy gets mesmerised in Slot Canyons of Arizona!

We love to travel. Naturally we love to read travelogues as well. We believe that every travel is personal and every traveler has his own story to tell. It is his/her own experience of new place, new people, new sights, new food and new culture. It is interesting to read the experience of of others which will only enhance or complement one's own travel experience. Possibly, it may provide a new insight as well. We would like to share some of the interesting ones we come across in this blog. 

You have definitely heard of Grand canyon in Colorado, USA. What about "Slot Canyon" in Arizona?

In all probability, you may not have. Neither did we!

This story is by Andy. You might read his lovely blog. If you haven't this is the place to start with.

Andy and Sameena are quintessential travellers. Andy is a free lancer having done assignments for BBC, National Geographic, CNN etc. Sameena accompanies him with a camera in hand. Yes, she is the photographer whose pictures accompany Andy's travel stories. Sometimes thoughtful and serious.......sometimes humorous. Andy's stories go beyond "what we did" kind of narration.

Here are two pictures of what we are talking. Looks amazing isn't it?

Here is his account of his visit to Slot Canyons in Arizona. Yes, Andy will take you through a whirlwind tour of the place in his usual style!

Wonder stuck in Slot Canyons of Arizona!

Next time when you visit Grand Canyon, make sure you make some time to visit this lesser known but wonderful place.

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Saturday, 25 January 2014

Colours of India's Republic Day!

We were watching the magnificent republic day parade on television in the morning in Bangalore. It is always a memorable experience to watch the parade. For Poorna, it is nostalgic and can relate to the different regiments which participate in the parade. The valour, the history and the colours of these regiments are the stuff stories made of. 

The misty morning of Delhi enlivened by the lovely martial music and the steps of our soldiers, cadets and young kids in their school uniforms.....After marching contingents, you always have those lovely tableau of the different states. 

Suddenly it struck as why not click some pictures of the parade on the iphone. Here are some........

Now for some lovely pictures which we downloaded from Press Information Bureau website.........

Long live Indian republic! Best wishes to every Indian on this day!! 

If you haven't seen it, be there next January in Delhi. It is a memorable experience.

You may also take a look at this excellent set of pictures on Flickr taken by Mr Srinivasan last year.

Friday, 24 January 2014

12 things to do in Goa you haven't done before!

The beach series continues in the blog. This time it is Goa.

We never get tired of this place. We go there at least once a year like a pilgrimage. Poorna had also served in Goa while in the Army. Every time we go there, we always do something new. We thought of listing those things which are special, offbeat to do in Goa. 

Here is our list.

1 Explore rural Goa on a bicycle

Rural Goa is charming. More so immediately after Monsoon. It is green everywhere. The rural roads in Goa have always been good which makes it an excellent place to bicycle around. If you don't want to pedal, rent out a mobike and go around. Our preference - Chandor - Quepem and surroundings.

2. Play or watch a village football match

Football is the second religion to a Goan. The Village tournaments are fiercely fought. You will see supporters at the top of their voice. Get a beer and enjoy the proceedings. You won't be disappointed. You may also join a friendly game if you are good at the it!

3. Go for a trek in the hills

Get out of beach hangovers and head to hills. Whether it is Chorla ghat or Dudhsagar falls, Goa has some excellent trekking trails. The most charming one is of course is the Railway track trek to Dudhsagar falls. You can do it either from Castle rock or Kulem. It is a lovely experience.

Please click here for detailed account of our trek to Dudhsagar Falls

Dudhsagar Falls - A monsoon trek on railway track!

4 Snorkel, Scuba dive in Palolem

Goa has some nice places to go snorkeling and scuba diving. Palolem is one.

For more details please click this post in this blog here

Surfing, Snorkeling and Scuba diving in India

5. Visit local markets

Visiting any local markets in Goa is always fun. Arpora (see picture below), Anjuna, Mapusa, get variety of stuff. If you are a seafood lover, this is the place to pick up some homemade prawn pickles, sarpotel etc. Also visit the early morning fish markets in Madgaon or Panaji. 

6. Visit a heritage home

Heritage homes still dot rural Goa. Go there before they get demolished or get converted into a boutique hotel. Don't miss visiting Braganza House ( in picture below) in Chandor.

7.  Spend few hours @ Reis Magos Fort

The lovely fort overlooking Mandovi river has been beautifully restored into a cultural centre with a museum. Don't miss Mario Miranda gallery. The views are breathtaking too.

8. Travel in a ferry

Travelling in a ferry will allow you to see relish a true Goan experience. Go to any ferry wharfs in Panjim and hop on. Longer the better!

9. Spice plantation tour

Bored of beaches? Why not spice your trip a little? Head to Ponda and visit the largest Spice plantation in Goa. Enjoy the authentic Buffet lunch as well!

If you want more details on visiting the plantation, please click here.

Visiting Sahakari Spice Farm, Ponda

10 Go Kayaking in Goa

Goa is blessed with some lovely rivers. Kayaking in these rivers is a thrilling experience.

This website has more details on Kayaking in Goa. Try it out.

Kayaking in Goa

11. Buy some Goan stuff

If you are like us, then don't miss out picking up some lovely Goan ceramics at Velha Goa Galleria in Panaji or Bibinca in Mr Baker or Spicy cashew........

12. Go south

At last, we need to give it to the beaches. This has to be quaint beaches in South Goa. Enjoy lovely waters, uncrowded beaches, go for dolphin sighting.......all this in South Goa beaches like Agonda, Betul or Palolem.

Here was our list. Did we miss out anything? What has been your offbeat experience in Goa? Do let us know.

Are you a beach lover like us? Then don't miss this post on our blog. Click here.

Five lovely beaches in India to visit before summer!

Four beach treks in Karnataka you must do!

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Thursday, 23 January 2014

Skywatch Friday - A Home in Hill country, Sri Lanka

This was clicked while we were driving - we did take a self drive car - in the Hill country of Sri Lanka during last Christmas.

The hill country in Sri Lanka is magnificently beautiful and we were driving in the interior parts of it. In the week before Christmas, the island had received lot of rains. Luckily when we were driving, the weather was sunny but wet. It was around 10 AM when we crossed this place and could not wait to stop and click this.

The red roofed bungalow - must be that of tea estate manager's - was a lovely contrast to the green around. The clouds above made it look more pretty.

If you are planning a trip to Sri Lanka and need help, do get in touch with us. Happy to help!

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Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary @ Nannaj, Solapur

Who hasn't heard of Great Indian Bustard? 

The bird which was pipped by colourful Peacock to be anointed as India's National bird. Today, the bird on the verge of extinction and the Indian government is trying to ensure that it continue to grow.

We are not avid birders but love to see our winged friends in the wild whenever we get a chance!

We were reading an article in Deccan Herald yesterday on the conservation of Great Indian Bustard (GIB) in Nannaj sanctuary near Solapur in Maharashtra. This lovely grassland sanctuary is spread over 1222 sq KMs. We had read about the GIB sanctuary in Karera in Madhya Pradesh but not Nannaj which is closer home (Pardon our ignorance). 

We wanted to share the information with you. 

If you are passing by Solapur any time, spend an hour to see these lovely birds. Shy as they are, you never know you may be lucky to spot them! If you can spot them, don't worry.  There are many other birds in the sanctuary to make up for them.

You can also visit Hipparga lake nearby which is known for Flamingos during season.

Getting there

  • Nannaj is 20 KMs from Solapur which is well connected by Train and Bus to other parts of the country. The nearest airport is Pune.
  • Entry permits to the sanctuary can be obtained from forest office in Nannaj.

Stay Options

Best stay options are in Solapur town. However, the sanctuary has a Forest guest house which can be booked through forest authorities in Solapur.

Also look at this related post on our experience in Bandipur National park.

Bandipur - Tale of a big cat!

Here is a nice documentary on the sanctuary done in Marathi. Never mind if you don't understand, enjoy the lovely images!

Great Indian Bustard - A documentary

A nice account of birding trip to the place. Please click here

On the Great Indian Bustard trail in GIB Sanctuary, Nannaj

Photo Courtesy - Manjula Mathur

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Sunday, 19 January 2014

Surfing, Snorkeling & Scuba diving in India

The season of Surf, Sand and Sun continue on this blog. 

We wrote on the Five Lovely Beaches you should visit before summer ( in our previous posts. Now it is the time to explore where we can go and explore the life under the sea or ride the waves.

Yes, we are talking about snorkeling and surfing. Now is the time to go.

We know that the best places to go to explore life under the sea are outside the mainland India. In Andamans and Lakshadweep. Are there any places closer home where we can go for a day of surfing or snorkeling or scuba diving?

We were looking for some and fortunately found them closer home and thought of sharing it with you. These guys are good, experienced and have earned their spurs over the years. Here we go with our list.


Surfing is a nascent sport in India. There are few places where you can ride the waves. Not only these places are good for surfing, they have some gorgeous beaches as well.

1. Ashram Surf Resort, Mulki, Karnataka

Surfing Swamis as they were called have a full fledged surfing resort in Mulki. Here is their website

2. Shaka Surf Club, Kodibengere, Udupi, Karnataka

With India's only female instructor, the club has wide range of courses. The beach at Kodibengere is gorgeous as well. Here is their facebook page.

3. Cocopelli Surf School, Gokarna, Karnataka

The only surf school in Gokarna, it has different courses to choose from. Here is their website.

4. Surfing Yogis, Puri, Orissa

The guys behind India Surf Festival also run many courses in temple town of Puri.

5. Kallialay Surf School, Pondicherry

Juan and Samai run this school in Pondy. Try them out when you are there next time. Here are their details

6. Kovalam Surf Club, Kovalam, Kerala

Involving the local fishermen community, this NGO led club is operational since 2005. Here are the details.

Snorkeling & Scuba 

There are few sites for snorkeling & scuba diving on the mainland and Netrani island off the coat of Murudeshwar is one such place. Then are are some diving spots off Goa coast as well on the east coast in Pondicherry and Kochi. Here are the details if you are looking at exploring undersea world!

1 Dreamz Diving, Murudeshwar, Karnataka

The guys who popularised diving on the west coast. Led by Master diver Dhirendra and his experienced instructors, you will have a lifetime experience with them. They also have a diving centre in Palolem, Goa. Take a look at their website here.

2. Goa Aquatics, Candolim, Goa

Led by master diver Anindya, here is a chance to get out of the lazy shacks and get into the water with them. Here is their website.

3. Temple Adventures, Pondicherry

One of the few diving centers operating on the east coast. Try them out when you are in Pondy, next time. Here are the details

4. Dive Goa, Dona Paula, Panjim, Goa

Well established diving school which run courses and diving tours both in Goa as well as Netrani. Check out details here.

5. Scuba Cochin, Kochi, Kerala

The diving school in Kochi run courses leading to certifications. Check out details here.

Another lovely place for Scuba and Snorkeling is in Mannar Marine National park near Rameshwaram which has fabulous reefs. But, as of now it is out of bound for tourists and open only for researchers. Hope they will open it everyone in future.

We have plans go for snorkeling in Netrani in Feb. What about you? 

Time to say "hi" to our friends under the sea!

If you want explore the west coast of Karnataka, you may look at these posts in this blog

Exploring West Coast - Karavali Vistas

Driving Holidays from Bangalore - Karavali and Koffee combo!

If you are a beach lover like us, you will should read the following posts in this blog

12 things to do in Goa you haven't done before!

Four beach treks in Karnataka you must do!

Five lovely beaches in India to visit before summer!

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Thursday, 16 January 2014

Skywatch Friday - Sydney Harbour Bridge

The Harbour bridge in Sydney is an iconic landmark of the city. Built in 1934, the largest steel arch bridge in the world is an engineering marvel.

I was browsing the pictures taken during the trip to Sydney in 4 years back and this picture stuck me. It was taken when we went for a ride in the ferry. The sky was clear and there was no traffic under the bridge. The two towers provide the contrast to the blue of the sea and sky.

This is a "Must see" place in Sydney. You can also climb the bridge for a breathtaking view of city's skyline. You may visit this link for more details

Climbing Sydney Harbour Bridge

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