Weekend Getaway

Travelling is an essential part of our life. We need to travel to refresh, relax and most importantly to stay sane. Our lives spin around tight schedules, and more often than not we crave for a getaway but not always can we afford one. An average person goes on a trip (am not counting the business ones because those aren’t close to refreshments) once or twice a year but does that nearly balance our urges? For example, I had an extravagant trip just last December but am already craving (and planning) another one. So what do we do when we cannot afford to travel as frequently as we wish to? We keep taking small weekend trips, or road trips throughout the rest of the year to stay sane.

If you think of it, how well do you know your own city or town? Have you visited all the tourist spots in your own city? Have you explored all the interesting corners of your city? You go on a tour and visit the botanical garden at the new city in between the 5 day stay but have you ever visited the botanical garden at your own place? If your answers are no, then you might as well start exploring your own city in between your long awaited extravagant tours. Trust me, it really helps to get you through the stressful weeks and waiting for the long trips becomes tolerable.

I have been living in Kolkata for the past 9 years, but I had no one to accompany me on my city explorations before I met my boyfriend 5 years ago. That however did not stop me from my explorations, but it did increase after my boyfriend started joining me in my mini adventures.

Our favourite getaway in Kolkata happens to be The Chintamoni Bird Sanctuary. I first went to the place around 8 years ago during my 2nd or 3rd year of college. I loved the place very much and vowed to bring the man in my life once I find him. I did, and I dragged him to the sanctuary 6 years later. This time there was lesser birds but somehow everything was 100 times better. It was the day after we purchased our first DSLR and he was still learning and wasn’t close to impressed by his own photography skills. A year later, he dragged me back again. This time there were no birds. However, my love for forests and trees really did compensate for that. I guess we are going back to the place every winter.

 

Our other favourite getaway spots happen to be Alipur Horticulture and Princep Ghat. However, the later one always seems to be crowded and I even though I dislike crowded place from the core of my heart, there’s something about this place that made me visit it twice.

And there are some spots I visited with friends or colleagues that I wish to visit again with my family and my boyfriend – Piyali Island and Gadiara.

There are getaways from Kolkata that takes a couple of days stay, like Darjeeling, Digha, Bakhhali, Mandarmani, Puri, Sundarbans, Henry’s Island. Most have been visited, some are still on the list.

Essentials for day trip – cosy clothes, comfortable shoes or sandals according to the place we are going, Wet Wipes, Cushion Compact or Spray on Sunscreens, towels and Mists.

Do you guys love taking weekend trips? Would love reading about your favourite weekend getaways from your city. <3

This entry was posted in travel.

The Trip I Wish To Repeat: Puri, Orissa

A few years back when I visited Puri, I wasn’t aware of Raghurajpur, the Artists Village. It was only a few months later that I came to know that there’s a village within 10kms from Puri that consists of 100 houses were everyone is an artisan. They are the artisans that are keeping the ‘Pattachitra’ art alive. Sadly, I never got to go back.

Puri happens to be one of the most visited spots by us Bengalies and even though I haven’t really got the time to go back, this time to pay extra attention to Raghurajpur, I have always made sure that whenever any friends or relatives are visiting Puri, they are reserving a day to visit Raghurajpur. I don’t usually write about trips that I took before I started blogging, but given to the fact that this village should get more exposure then it usually gets, I really thought it deserved a post (maybe there will be another after I take the second trip?). I mean residing in Kolkata I really would have known about the village before taking the trip had it got the exposure it deserves. The artists from the village are not only pro at ‘Pattachitra’ but also at making stone idols, traditional masks, wooden toys and sculpture. Many artists from the village have received national awards for their exceptional works. Who would not want to visit a heritage village like that?

Apart from Raghurajpur, there are many other tourist and religious attractions that makes many Bengalies travel to Puri throughout the year. When we visited Puri it was just a couple of days after Puri was hit by a cyclone. Needless to say, that didn’t make us cancel our plan. My cousin who was visiting just a few days earlier got stuck during the cyclone and when we reached the hotel, a lot of tourists stuck during the cyclone were still checking out. We reached our hotel by early dawn and explored the beaches throughout the day. We thought that because of the recent cyclone, there would be fewer visitors, but we were wrong. During the evening we explored the local markets and purchased the famous ‘Kotki Shawl’ of Cuttack.

The following day we took a boat ride through the Chilka Lake. It was a bit of pain to stroll under the scorching heat, but we stopped at a small island had the most amazing prawn and crab we have ever tasted and that pretty much made up to it.

The next morning we went to Bhubaneswar. The road trip was AMAZING even though there were trees lying down the road here and there because of the storm and we had to make our way to Bhubaneswar. When we got there, the scene was a little terrible as the city looked like the cyclone has hit them harder than they hit Puri. We couldn’t get breakfast anywhere as all the restaurants were closed because of the cyclone and as far as I can remember we didn’t get anything to eat before lunch.

At Bhubaneswar we went to the Konark Sun Temple and various other temples and finished by a delightful stroll at the Chandrabhaga beach at the evening. The next day was spent at the famous Nandan Kanon Zoo where to took a Lion Safari and Bear Safari and all the Safaries they had. The road trip back to Puri has to be one of the best road trips I have taken so far, amidst the woods listening to the song of the sea.

The next day was the last day of our stay. Even though the Jagannath Temple happens to be the main attraction of Puri, we decided to give it a skip as we have it was just too crowded that we felt claustrophobic. We spent the evening strolling at the beaches and then we boarded our train later that night.

 

How to go:

From Kolkata- 8 h 36 min by train

From any other part of the country- You can book your flight with Indigo Airlines.

Even though we visited Puri right after the storm, most of the hotels were still houseful, so booking your hotel before the trip is probably the best idea. You can look for hotels in puri online for a hassle free stay.

This entry was posted in travel.

Andaman Travel Diary Part 4

Today’s post won’t have many pictures as some of the places we visited on Day 7 were photography prohibited. When Indian Govt. tried to relocate people from around the country to the Andaman, the tribe residing there called as ‘Jarowa’ were relocated to a specific island. The Jarowa Island is strictly prohibited from visiting, as the Jarowas are clearly not objects of display; they are just as human as we are, with a very different lifestyle. However, if you are visiting the limestone cave, you need to drive through the Jarowa Island, keeping in mind a lot of things:

  • Do not photograph while on the Jarowa Island, do not even think about taking your phone or camera out of your bag.
  • Do not stop the car, or lower the speed.
  • The gates open at the certain times of the day, all the cars will drive at a constant speed, together, do not fall back.

We weren’t told about the consequences of not following the rules, but the broken cars and the Jarowas with bows and arrows in their hand pretty much summed it up. But we will come back to it later.

We left the hotel at 5.30 in the morning as the gate opens at 9, and it’s a long (1.3hrs) drive until the check post and our driver said that we don’t want to be the last car in the line. However, fate had some other plans for us. 10 minutes on the road, and the other car from our package got hit by a bus. The girl I bonded with while returning from Neil Island got her right earlobe torn, the driver fractured his arm and ever body else in the car got bruised, with glass pieces stuck on their whole face and body. The police arrived within minutes, took them to the hospital, and we followed them. After a few minutes, the driver told us that there’s no major damage and we still can make it to the check post. We didn’t have the heart to go after witnessing the accident 1 feet before us, but then the driver assured us that there’s no major damage except for the girl, and there’s no internal damage in her ear, so we thought let’s get our minds away from the accident.

The drive was really grim with everybody still thinking about the accident, and when we reached the check post we were the 3rd last car in the line. We had to fill up some form and wait until the gate opened. We were previously told that spotting a Jarowa is a very rare incident. After about 1 hour of driving through the forest we spotted a group of women and children. The young ones seemed to be smiling at us, while the older ones ignored our existence. Half an hour of more driving and we reached the check post. From there we took a lounge to a dock and while boarding the lounge I reapplied my sunscreen. It was about 10 minutes of ride and we reached a dock from where we were supposed to take a boat to Baratang Island. We were hoping to take a speedboat that carries 5 people, but because we were the last in the line, all the good ones were gone and we took a boat for 9 people.  It was a looooong ride, and I would have actually enjoyed a boat ride on the ocean if the sun wasn’t shining bright enough to make a roast out of me. With my eyes hidden under my hat, and wearing a bulky life jacket, photography seemed to be too tough of a job to handle.

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Soon we reached a mangrove area, and we were riding under mangrove trees, so I got rid of my hat and started clicking. Because the boat took up speed, the pictures didn’t come out that great so I took a video instead, which I am hoping to make into a vlog. The place was just like a dream, with mangrove forest, and tiny bamboo shaded sitting areas, even the fact that the area was crocodile inhibited made the whole thing similar to scenes from ‘Anaconda’. We landed on a bamboo bridge amidst the bamboo forest and had a guide from our boat that wouldn’t let me click any pictures because he said every now and then tourists go missing when they fall behind from the rest of the people. So I used my viewfinder constantly clicking while I walked along with everybody. It was a 1 mile walk amid the forest from my dream with so many things to click yet feeling like a race horse. Even when I was clicking with my viewfinder without taking a stop, a police officer warned me that if I fall behind from the rest of my family to take pictures and a crocodile eats me up, it’s not his responsibility. So I kept walking along, loving the whole atmosphere, yet hating the whole situation.

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There was a stop where some people were selling lemonade and cucumbers because the walk was close to hiking. By the time we reached the Lime Stone cave, my camera battery almost died as I had been using my viewfinder the whole time.

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15403266_1359077320809942_2133360419_n-1We didn’t spend much time as we had to come back to the check post by 3 a.m unless we wanted to spend the night at that crocodile inhibited area.  So we took the boat back to where we were supposed to take our lounge from, and we had a pretty decent lunch and boarded the next lounge.

At 3 a.m sharp, the gate opened, and we started our drive back through the Jarowa Island. It didn’t take us long to spot another Jarowa , then an elderly couple, then a group of girls catching crabs, then a bunch of kids who waved us ‘bye’ and then a group of teens and children with the teens carrying bows and arrows, then a teen brushing his teeth with Neem Chew Stick’ who signed us ‘thumbs up’ then another group of late teens and that was that. Our driver had told us on the way that they are very much wild to this day, and doesn’t hesitate to use their bow and arrow on anyone if they want to. He said it’s not uncommon for them to struck a tire of any car with an arrow, and then struck another when the driver attempts to change the tire, and it’s also not uncommon for them to hit a car and break the glass, and it didn’t take us long to witness an example. An abandoned car with broken glasses with no hint that it was there for a single night, neither was it there when we first entered the island, meaning that it was a car from the 12 ‘o’ clock lot, and there’s a chance that it was attacked by you know who. The young ones however looked much friendlier, and they have also learned bits and pieces of Hindi.

So even though we were exhausted and I had hard time to keep my eyes open and had a terrible headache, the ride back was a little more exciting. We reached the hotel around 6.30 pm and the first thing we did was to check on both the families. They were stable whatsoever, but as soon as we reached, the mother of the girl whose earlobe got torn complained about a chest pain and stayed in the hospital for the night.

It was our last dinner at the hotel, and we had fried rice, chilly chicken and prawn for dinner. I took a painkiller for headache and went to bed.

The next day we had our flight at 5.45 p.m and didn’t have any plans so we talked to some locals about visiting places that aren’t included in our package. Turned out there’s two amazing beaches named Wandoor and Chidiya Tapu at the distance of some 45 km and 60 km. We took an auto and the driver said that we won’t be able to make it to the hotel by 2 ‘o’ clock if we cover both. He said the scenery at Chidiya Tapu is way better than the former one. So we knew were to go.  God he was right! 10 minutes after riding we entered a different world, with an amazing view of the ocean on our left side and woods from another one of my dreams on our right. We were spellbound at the scenery and too bad we didn’t have time to take a stop to enjoy the time of our life. Once we reached Chidiya Tapu, he parked in front of a zoological garden instead of the beach and told us that there’s another beach within 10 minutes of riding and we don’t have time to halt at both. We chose the later and another 10 minutes of an auto ride inside deep woods, straight out of my dream.

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The Munda Pahar beach wasn’t much crowded except for a school picnic group.  It was hard to believe that this is the same city/place as the hotel that we were staying. Sadly, we didn’t even get to spend more than 5 minutes as our auto driver kept reminding us that we have a plane to catch. So we went back to the auto, and I almost felt like crying when we crossed Chidiya Tapu as it was too amazing a beach to skip.

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And then we came back to the hotel, showered, had our lunch, packed our bags, took a power nap and headed to the airport.

So now if you have read all three of my Andaman Travelogue parts, you’ll know where to visit and what to skip. You can easily make a tour plan by yourself, and also you can skip certain parts if you are opting for a tour package. We stayed there 8 days, visited all the places in our package, also visited places outside our package, and luckily came back just a day before the mishaps started happening in Andaman. So if you happen to plan a trip to Andaman (when it’s back to normal again) feels free to drop down a comment if you have any queries or concern.

And lastly, this series was my first travelogue and I hope I did a good job. J

P.S: Can’t wait to write down my next.

Part 1:http://beautifullyme.in/index.php/2016/12/04/andaman-travel-diary-part-1/

Part 2: http://beautifullyme.in/index.php/2016/12/07/andaman-travel-diary-part-2/

Part 3: http://beautifullyme.in/index.php/2016/12/08/andaman-travel-diary-part-2-2/

This entry was posted in travel.

Andaman Travel Diary Part 3

Day 5 started around 7.30 in the morning. Apparently my sister got a nice sleep at night and woke up at the crack of the dawn to take a walk along with my dad. I decided to sleep in until the breakfast was ready. Talking about breakfast, I hate having oily stuffs for breakfast but I have to admit that we had the best paranthas of our lives at our resort (Green Park) hat morning. Actually every single thing we had at the resort were mind blowing and my bad I didn’t take a picture of the cook.

So after lunch we headed for Lakshan Pur beach where there were no other human beings except for us. The day was really hot and humid (now that am seeing the news, I know why) which made it a challenge for us to spend more than a few minutes at the beach.

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Our guide then drove us to Bharat Pur beach, told us that there are so many water activities to enjoy and drove away. My misconception about the Island being lonely blew away as soon as I looked into the super crowded beach. I mean I have visited more crowded beaches in Chennai and Goa and Vizag and Puri, but since all the beaches in Andaman where less crowded, and we rarely saw tourists in the island until we came to the beach, I was like ‘where are all these people staying? We didn’t see many resorts like we saw in Havelock?’

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So looking at the activities, there weren’t much left, we had already Scuba Dived, Taken Glass Boat ride, Normal boat ride and everything they had to offer except for water scooter. I loved it in Goa and I really wanted to do it again. So despite the fact that I had a severe cut in my knee, and intolerable allergy in both my arms and my legs, I went into the water like I’m not afraid of what the salty water can do to my cut and my irritated skin.

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[Pardon my sister’s focusing ability, it was taken seconds before she herself got off the scooter]

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The water scooter ride was even more terrific than the one I had in Goa. 2 minutes, and I was wondering if I will come back to the shore alive. I did! Limping, as I was soaked in salty water. That’s when I remembered that I had my dried swimsuit from the previous day in my mum’s bag and went towards the changing room. Jokes on me, I went into the water wearing a studded tank tee and Denim Shorts and changed into a swimsuit for my ride back to the hotel. It soon started raining and we took shelter in the hut of the owner of the changing room. I had ‘staying at a local’s place while travelling’ in my bucket list and am not sure if half an hour counts, but it was raining, and we had an amazing view of the beach, so I guess it somehow counts.

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It was around 11 in the morning and our guide was supposed to pick us at 1.30 but we were getting bored as hell as we didn’t have much to do and I definitely wasn’t a huge fan of the crowded beach. So we called our guide to pick us up once it stopped raining. He did, at 1.30 pm while we were hoping to get back to the resort and take a quick nap as we were so scared to take the horrible Cruise from the previous day back to Port Blair. We could see the cruise from the beach and even the sight of it made us wanna puke.

After we went back to the resort we went straight for lunch. Amazing food that made the bitter 2 hours of waiting a little better, and we ordered a Fish Called ‘Surmai’ or King Mackarel along with our package meal that tasted amazing. I usually hate eating fish, so trust me when I praise any particular fish.

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[Price: 500 Rs for 1 piece]

We didn’t get to rest much. And we boarded the cruise again all the while making faces. I’m not sure if I have ever wrote this on my blog, but I am an insomniac, so it took me a little effort to doze off. Thank God I didn’t get to take nap at the resort.  But it was a 2.15 hrs ride and I couldn’t sleep the whole time. Soon I woke up to the sounds of people puking and wasn’t feeling very well myself. It was around 40 minutes left and that’s when I bonded with a girl from our tour package who was studying English Hons. (me being a Master in English from the same University as hers).

Again I took a triumphant step on land for not puking throughout the ride and went back to our previous hotel exhausted. The first thing we did after going back to the hotel was to talk to the manager regarding an extra room. He only admitted of having spare rooms once we clarified that we are willing to pay for it. That night we slept peacefully. Also, it was my boyfriend’s birthday, so I got to wish him at 12 ‘o’ clock.

Day 6 was a much deserved resting day. By this time we had already lost all our energies. We have previously travelled for even 3 weeks straight, but this package system was really sucking out all our energies. It was like the strictest hostel I have ever stayed. The plans of the day arranged by our agents were leisurely tours of local areas, and now that I’m thinking about it, staying in would have been far better.

We were taken to a Saw Mill in the scorching heat that made me this close to faint. There was nothing to see except for a gallery filled with wood works. I would suggest skipping it and go for the underrated beaches in Andaman instead; I’ll give you the names on my next post.

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Next we went to the Anthropological Museum and I was like finally something that interested me. I am really glad I visited the museum before visiting the Jarowa Island as I got to learn so much about the History of Andaman and Nicobar. Sadly, we weren’t allowed to click pictures.  Lastly we went to the aquarium where we weren’t allowed to photograph, but for some ridiculous reason were allowed to video graph after paying 50 bucks. Would I be in trouble if I post the couple of pictures that I sneaked while video graphing?

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We came back to the hotel almost roasted, had lunch and took a quick nap. Around 4 we were taken to the Government Emporium for shopping. Now, everything in Andaman costs more than the MRP, even fruits that grow in the particular Islands are charged twice the amount and sometimes more. We did a lot of shopping at the Bharat Pur Beach, and everything at the emporium cost even more than the beach. Whatever we liked was hard to carry, so I just bought a Key Chain and left. We kept walking around the city and hoped into another shop and bought some gifts and stuffs. Around 5.30 our car picked us up and we went back to hotel and sipped our tea leisurely (for the first time in the whole trip). But we weren’t going to call it a day yet. So we took an auto and went to the Rajib Gandhi Water Sports Complex where we earlier took our lounge to Ross Island. It was already dark by 6 pm and the pictures were coming really terrible. We took a long, leisurely walk around the complex, spending some nice family time, and then walked out in front of the Cellular Jail where we could hear the last Light and Dance showing.

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We took an auto from there and while we were chatting with the driver about local businesses and bakeries, he mentioned ‘Famous Bakery’ to be a famous bakery. So we asked him to take him there. There were Black Forest PIECES that costs 400 bucks, pieces I repeat, not the whole cake. There were no fast foods and stuffs, only cakes and Ice Creams and packaged stuffs (they ran out they said), so we had ice creams and bought some plum cakes and biscuits and went back to hotel. Not much of activities, not many pictures.

Part 1: http://beautifullyme.in/index.php/2016/12/04/andaman-travel-diary-part-1/

Part 2: http://beautifullyme.in/index.php/2016/12/07/andaman-travel-diary-part-2/

This entry was posted in travel.

Andaman Travel Diary Part 2

Back from where I left off the day before yesterday. Day 3 from my Andaman Trip started early morning, around 5 I guess. We took a cruise called Green Ocean to Havelock and had a real pleasant ride.

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The same cannot be said about my friend’s brother and sister-in-law who came to Andaman on their Honeymoon a day after us, and took the same cruise the very next day and puked their guts out throughout their ride. It was the day we went to Neil Island from Havelock and the weather was pretty bad and most of the people in the cruise fell sick. But I’ll come back to that later. Our ride on Green Ocean was pretty pleasant. A few minutes after the cruise took off we were said that we can go to the open terrace, and everybody rushed. Half the people on the cruise were on the terrace and the rest where in front of the cafeteria and that made it a challenge for us to click a picture of the amazing view, because every second we had to make way for someone passing by. We had some coffee in the cafeteria and then I came back to my seat and dozed off. It was a 2 hours ride and no one fell sick, no one complained.

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We were picked up by our agents and were led to an amazing resort. Sadly however, again we got one double bedroom for 4 family members. We told the manager that we are going to pay for an extra room if there’s any,but we were told that they are always fully booked. So take a note, book your room in prior if you are planning a stay in Havelock, A.K.A the most wonderful place in Andaman.

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We had our lunch in the hotel, and while the menu said crab, there were none in the kitchen. So we ordered an additional plate of prawn along with our usual package meal. The rest of the day, there were no plans by our agents because apparently they thought that we might be all tired from the voyage, which we were clearly not. Around 3 p.m we took an auto to Kala Pathar Beach. The resort car was charging us the same amount (some 800 bucks I guess) but we love auto rides while travelling,it reminds us of our favourite vacation in Vizag years back. The road to Kala Pathar was mind blowing, the kind that haunts me in my dreams. Actually when I remember the road, I curse myself for not taking a stop and clicking a picture.  Everything was picture perfect which turned more like dream with the tropical weather. The beach was as amazing as the road, with fewer people and some tropical fruit stands. I am the type of traveller who likes avoiding tourist spots, and loves to visit unexplored areas, so this beach turned out to be my favourite spot in the whole trip, and after spending an amazing time on the beach, I ran towards the fruit stalls.

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After an hour we came back to our auto and as soon as it took off, it started raining. Does it get any better than this? A lonely road, woods on both side, no other human being to be seen (except for my family and the auto driver of course) and the rain! I wish the road never ended. But soon it did and so did the rain and we went back to civilization. From the running auto, I spotted a small restaurant with ‘Wi-Fi’ written on it. As our resort wasn’t too far, we paid the driver and went inside the restaurant, all the while hoping that they have lobsters in the menu. We asked about the wi-fi and they said that we will get free wi-fi if we order above 500 bucks. Of course we will! I had lobster in my mind. So we took the wi-fi password and ordered once both our battery and power bank died. I ordered a lobster and my sister ordered a grilled fish, I forgot to ask its name but I suppose it was Kingfish and we got some complimentary French Fries that tasted weird. My lobster was cooked in Indian Style and tasted A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. The same cannot be said about my sister’s fish however, it tasted disgusting. On the brighter side, she is allergic to prawn but she took a tiny bite of the lobster and said it didn’t bother her at all. We ordered four cups of Tea and after I read everyone’s’ expressions after they took their first sip, I didn’t dare sipping mine. They didn’t take a second sip either. So in case you are visiting Havelock and drop down at ‘Golden Spoon’, DO NOT order their tea, neither their grilled fish that looks like this…

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Go for the lobster instead…

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Lobster- 500 bucks

Grilled Fish- 300 bucks

We walked back to our resort, had dinner, ordered an extra bed and went to sleep. The whole night it rained like cats and dogs and I kept thinking “dafuq would happen if the whole structure falls down” (it actually happened to me once, am not lying).

Day 4:

The next morning we went to Radhanagar Beach which is famous for Scuba Diving. What I didn’t know was that my friend’s brother and his wife were at the Beach as well and while they were scuba diving, we were contemplating if we have enough time to scuba dive once again.  Of course there was bound to be something special about the Scuba in this particular beach which made it more famous than any other beach that has Scuba. Also it cost a lot less than what we paid at North Bay Island. If I can remember correctly, we paid 3.5k per person, and the Radhanagar Scuba costs 2k per head (I guess). I am yet to watch their Scuba Video and compare it with mine. 😀

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So anyhow, we had an amazing time at the eco-friendly beach. We all bathed in the sea, and before I dived in, I clicked some amazing pictures of my family, which I am banned from posting on my blog because my sister thinks she looks fat 😀 (She is healthy though, not fat).

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There was an almost clean changing room where we showered and took off. And I again had an amazing fruit salad right outside the beach.

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We already had our luggage packed at the resort, so we just had our lunch and left for our cruise to Neil Island.

And here comes the part where I feel sick even remembering the ride. We had our eyes on this cruise since we came to the port for our cruise to Havelock. It’s called Coastal Cruise by Makruzz and it looked so classy.

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Even though the inside of the cruise was even more luxurious than the outside, I started feeling sick as soon as I took my seat, thus no pictures from the evening. As soon as the cruise took a start, everybody around started puking. The attendants said that the weather is too bad, and started handing us candies and sick bags. Thankfully no one from my family or our package fell sick, but almost 80% people on the cruise puking together cannot get any more horrible. My sister started listening to music on her phone as to not to listen to all the puking sounds. The 1.30 hours was one of the hardest of my life and when I took a step on the land, I felt triumphant for not puking in the cruise.

We were picked up by our resort manager and while on our way to the resort we paid a quick visit to the Natural Bridge. The place is under the sea at certain time of the day, but our visit was scheduled when we could walk over the dead corals to the bridge.

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It was a little tricky and a lot risky, but I almost made it to the bridge with a camera on my right hand and my camera bag containing my 16k worth lens on my left, and then in an attempt to click a picture of a real sneaky crab, I slipped on a rock while trying to save my camera bag from slipping from my shoulder and falling into the water. I still managed to click this shot:

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But my photographic expedition ended when my dad noticed my bloody knee.

I somehow still managed to sneak out of his sight for a few seconds and clicked this picture of a fruit I forgot the name of, but I remember it for being the fruit eaten by the Jarowa Tribals.

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The weather in this island was even more pleasant than Havelock, and very less populated. When we reached our resort, I checked off a point from my bucket list. It was my dream to stay in a lonely place in the middle of the woods, and for a change we got two different rooms. To my horror, I realized there’s no network at all. The only networks that work over there are Airtel, and BSNL (I suppose), and it would have been fine with me if I wasn’t a blogger and hadn’t planned to post live travelogue while travelling. The whole place was lonely with us 11 people and a couple of staffs being the only human around. There were no lights in the street and being a lover of all things creepy, I sneaked out with my camera, using the camera flash to guide me. It took my dad and my sister 10 minutes to realize I was missing, and since he knew that it was literally impossible to call me in, he accompanied me. We saw no other human, and the only sound was crickets chirping.

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That night at dinner, we ordered the largest crabs we ever ate. 500 bucks for 6 crabs… Yum…

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[That were before they were cooked obviously :D]

And then we went to sleep.

 

Special Note:

Just as I was writing about my Havelock adventure above, my dad told me that more than 1400 tourists are stuck in there due to bad weather. We returned on 3rd December night, and the weather was pretty bad already. I was wondering how the flights are still departing in that weather. Luckily we reached home safely. On the fourth, there was an earthquake, and the weather’s been bad since.  If you are watching the news you’ll know how bad it got there. While I was sitting in the airport in that terrible weather I was just praying that the flight doesn’t get cancelled as I was desperate to come home. Thus I can only imagine what they might be going through. So let’s pray for their safe return.  </3

Part 1: http://beautifullyme.in/index.php/2016/12/04/andaman-travel-diary-part-1/

Part 3: http://beautifullyme.in/index.php/2016/12/08/andaman-travel-diary-part-2-2/

Andaman Travel Diary Part 1

Hey guys, hope you all are doing well. I’ve been away for over a week, enjoying a wonderful family vacation, without any phone network or wi-fi. I have been sharing unedited images on my Instagram whenever I received a low (2g) signal. And now that I am sitting in the comfort of my bedroom, I am going to share my travel deets with you guys. I am going to post the travelogue in parts, because I after a tightly knitted tour, I realized that an Andaman tour plan requires a lot of research.

We have never travelled with travel packages because I love travelling like a traveller and not like a tourist (ask me the difference between the two and I can dedicate a whole post on it). But whoever visited the place told us that there are innumerable places to visit in Andaman, and it’s practically impossible to travel without the help of a travel package. My sister usually makes all the tour plans, but she had her PhD viva the day before our flight so we thought, let’s book a travel package just this once. Who knows, we might even love the experience? It however, didn’t take us long to decide that it’s going to be our last package tour. Of course it has its perks, but it had its back draws as well. So I decided to post detailed travelogue, so that any reader of my blog can plan an Andaman tour without the help of travel packages (if they want), and also get to know what to look for when booking a travel package, and lastly, get to know about places that aren’t usually covered by the travel packages. And because a detailed 8 day travelogue (that includes places not covered by our agents) won’t fit a single post, I’m going to post it in parts.

Day 1:

We landed at Port Blair on 26th November around 10.30 am and were picked up by our agents. The package that we booked is called Andaman Super, referred to us by a friend of my sister. We were accompanied with another two families and we were provided by a separate car, while the rest of the two families (colleagues) were provided with one. Upon reaching the hotel (R.D International), I had the strong urge to take a return flight home as it looked like one of the worst hotels we ever stayed in. It wasn’t dingy, or dirty, or anything bad, it was just small, and a little bad than regular, and the only guests were the package clients. We are a family of four and were said that we would be provided with two double bedrooms, but upon reaching they opened one small room, the kind of hotel room you would book if you miss the last train home. We were asked to freshen up fast and come upstairs for lunch. A shaded terrace and regular Bengali food that tasted very much like my once hostel food. The meal times were all fixed; I guess that’s how it works in package tours. I, on the other hand, love testing local delicacies while travelling, so I was a bit off when I saw the meal plan.

After lunch, we hurriedly got ready and left for the Cellular Jail. The place gave us chills. We hired an amazing guide who gave us a tour, telling us details about our freedom fighters that were locked in the historical jail. The cells they were locked in, the place they were tortured and the place where they were hanged. The bitter cost of our freedom. While at one hand, we were deeply saddened to learn all the tragic details, the pride on our freedom fighters on the other hand took over the better off us. Standing inside the cell where Babarao Savarkar was locked in, I thought that every Indian needs to visit this place once in their lifetime.

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[Photographer: Our Guide]

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[Views from the Tower Top]

Next we went to Carvine Cove beach. I don’t have much to say, I just have to show…

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After spending some time at the beach, we went back to the Cellular Jail to watch the Light and Sound Show. I guess I experienced the second worse Goosebumps of my life, the first being my visit to Wagah Border. The show was a recitation of horrible stuffs that happened right inside the Jail, in the voice of our very own Om Puri. Tri colour lights lit up in the cells of certain patriots when there quotations were recited. We didn’t realize how the hour went by.

We went back to the hotel, had our dinner, and when a room service boy came, I asked him if there’s any vacant room, he said no. I guess he thought we were asking for a room for free (we had the right though). We were tired, and had no network coverage so we went to sleep early. Since I have got a Vodafone connection, I received low signals then and now. My mum and dad (Airtel and Vodafone) had mobile network but no internet connection, and my sister who has Aircel and Reliance connection only used her phone to take selfies. So if you have mobile connection other than BSNL, Vodafone and Airtel, you’ll have to think about alternatives if you are planning a visit.

Day 2:

The next morning we went to Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex and from there we took a boat called Dolphin to Ross Island.  The island is filled with  Japanese remnants,  which 4 bunkers still visible, inside one of which I re-applied my sunscreen 😀

 

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Next we went to North Bay Island, filled with water sport activities.

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dsc_0126We took a ride on the Adamanan Dolphin, one of its kinds, with a glass bottom to give us amazing view of the marine life. It cost us 1800 rs per person but the money was really worth it.

dsc_0210 Then we went Scuba Diving, a lifetime experience that got me hooked. I’ve heard that the Havelock Scuba is far better, but since this Island had the nick name Coral Island, and being a huge Nancy Drew fan, I couldn’t resist taking a dive, thinking of taking another in Havelock.

 

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I came back to the hotel tanned, even after reapplying sunscreen every 3 hrs (read :travel skincare). And because I haven’t described the scorching sun of Andaman previously, I will take this opportunity to suggest you guys to carry a sunscreen with a whooping SPF 70 if you don’t want to come back roasted. As a result of not re-applying any sunscreen on my arms and legs, I suffered a severe sun allergy by the second day, and I still have a frog like skin as I am writing this post. Even in the month of November, wearing a full-sleeve shirt wasn’t an option, the weather made sure of that. And that’s how our second day ended. The next day we took a ship to Havelock, but let’s talk about that tomorrow. Till then, here’s one more picture that I clicked with my new DSLR that my dad got me the day before we left for the trip, as my boy friend is taking the old one with him to his numerous bachelor trips. 😀

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Part 2: http://beautifullyme.in/index.php/2016/12/07/andaman-travel-diary-part-2/

Part 3:http://beautifullyme.in/index.php/2016/12/08/andaman-travel-diary-part-2-2/

Top 10 Destination Places in India

India is a very extraordinary country filled in such an original and dizzy blast of cultures, religions, races and languages. Every bit of the country is built of huge and overdone scale and worthwhile in differentiation superb mountains that dominate it. May be the only thing that is difficult in India would be to describe and understand the Country completely. Below are the Top 10 Places in India to visit.

Taj Mahal:

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Being placed and recognized in Seven Wonders in Modern World’s list, Taj Mahal should be the first destination place that anyone should not miss. Taj Mahal is a great monument in Indian history built by Shah Jahan in remembrance of his wife Mumtaaz Mahal, who died in 1631 after giving birth to their 14th child. The story of their love is undefined and facts behind the construction is  very interesting.  Save a day to visit this place and get mesmerized by its beauty. You can reach this place by flight, Train, Car.  You can book flight to Delhi from any Metropolitan city like Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Kolkata etc. After reaching Delhi, you can book self drive cars in Revv & Don’t worry about cost. Use “https://fabpromocodes.in/store/revv-coupons/  revv Coupons to Get discount on your fare amount .

Varanasi:

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The holy place in India, where lakhs of Hindu monks visit the temples and take dips in The Ganga River to get religious virtue. There are 2000 shrines and temples in Varanasi where you will be stunned and fascinated by the country and its beliefs.

Jaisalmer :

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The antique blockaded sandstone city of Jaisalmer that rests artistically on a level-peeked hill is strange, a distinct and lovely place that you should not miss to see. This bordered town is today one of the famous and most visited tourist destination.

Kochi:

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Kochi is a place with lovely ponds and lakes, filled with greenery everywhere. Kochi, which is also known as Cochin is known as the Queen of Arabian Sea and reflects the amalgamation of the state of Kerala.  This place is filled with 16th Century Jewish Synagogue, 500 year old Portuguese cottages and old churches, which were built by the Portuguese and later renovated in the Flemish style by the Dutch. St Francis Church is India’s oldest European built church and there are many more such beauties in this place.

Darjeeling:

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Standing at a peculiar elevation covered with Snow filled Himalayas on one side and greenery of tea plants on the other can be your dream time to spend with your loved ones. The main attractions here is the number of Buddhist monasteries, tea plantations, colorful farmers markets and trekking in the surrounding area.

Jaipur:

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One of  the best example of the beauty of Rajasthani architecture, Jaipur is popularly known as the Pink City of India. It was ruled by Maharaja Jai Singh II from 1693 to 1743. A superb Bengali architect Vidyadhar Bhattacharya constructed Jaipur in less than 8 years.  The must see place within the city include the City Palace. The last Son of the Maharaja still resides in a wing of the Palace. You can reach this place by car easily. Now a days self drive cars are available for travel lovers. https://fabpromocodes.in/store/mylescars-coupons/  Myles car offering exclusive offers for new and old users.  Get self drive cars with low price costs.

 

Goa:

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Goa is one among the India’s hot spots. The state’s Portuguese past is most apparent in its plazas, Cathedrals and architecture including the Catholic Church of Old Goa. The best attractions will be dotted with luxurious old estates built by wealthy Indians, Braganza Palace which is open to public. This place is surrounded by the Arabian Sea and. In Goa you have visit so many places and travelling charges are usually high, But you have the option to book self drive car in Zoomcar, use  https://fabpromocodes.in/store/zoomcar-coupons/  Zoom Car Coupons to get 100% Cashback on your fare amount.

Amritsar:

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Amritsar is famous for the Golden Temple. It’s situated in the state of Punjab and is the holy centre of the Sikh religion.  Maharaja Ranjith Singh built this religious place in 1803. This temple is constructed through a skin-deep pool as part of a refinement ritual, and then combined with mass that circles the place around the holy construction. This is again of the place that resembles the beauty of India.

Mumbai:

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Mumbai, which is also known as Bombay remains India’s city of dreams. This place is mostly constructed by the British around one of the best sheltered natural harbors in the World. Mumbai is the Country’s tactical economic centre and is also the home for the country’s fertile Bollywood Film Industry.

Shimla:

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Shimla, which is the capital state of Himachal Pradesh, is set along the hills of Himalayas. This state has the largest apple plantations. It beams a resort like atmosphere for the British and it used to be the Summer Capital of the British India in 1864. There are a lot of tourist attractions in and around the City, where you can make your journey through stunning scenery to the famous streets of Shimla.

 

About Author: Sridivya Koganti, fascinating blogger and loves writing. She works as a Content Writer, at www.fabpromocodes.in.  She is writer by day and a knowledge explorer in all. She is fond of reading books, browsing blogs and writing to share her knowledge and experiences in her articles. Check out her at fabpromocodes.in.

This entry was posted in travel.

Day trip to Chintamoni Kar Bird Sanctuary

There’s something really magical about the woods and the forests, they always makes me feel ecstatic, makes me feel at home.  There are people who will choose a beach over a hill station while planning a trip, and  there are people who will choose a hill station instead. Then there’s me, who will find joy by just having a walk in the woods.

I have visited this place nearly 6 years back, when I was still in college. It was a college trip and while most of my friends were busy shouting and complaining that there are no birds,while actually scaring them away, a friend and I managed to abandon them and actually got to see a lot of exotic birds. I knew that day, that I will come back to this place, with the right person. And today was the day…

While this time I noticed that there were fewer birds than last time (may be because it’s not winter yet), but that was okay, the woods and the fresh air were enough to excite me. Even though the mosquitoes made it hard for us to stand still and click, we somehow managed to get a few pictures that are good enough to post… 😀

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If you would like to visit this place here are some details…

Type : Bird Sanctuary
Local name: Kayaler Bagan or Kayal-r-Bagan
Area: 17 acre (extended)
Popularity : Well known
Country : India
City: Kolkata
Recognized as sanctuary by: Govt. of West Bengal
Established year: 1982
Lattirude: 22 25′ 45” N
Longitude: 88 24′ 4” E
Climate: Sunny and humid
Temperature: 28 – 37 Degree C (Summer)
13 – 30 Degree C (Winter)
Rainfall : High rainfall in the monsoon
Wind: Wind movement is normal excluding some cases.
Humidity : MAX: 91% MIN: 57%
ADDRESS :
Hogulkuria Rajpur Rd,Narendrapur, 24Pgs(South), West Bengal,India

 

VISITING HOURS : 7.00 A.M to 5.00 P.M

FEES:  As applicable & notified from time to time. *Rs. 50 per head ( According to visit @13.02.14)