Mysore Masala!!

IMG_0441.JPGMysore, the Southern Delight in the heart of Karnataka, is the city of Sandalwood and Tipu Sultan, where history meets luxury. There is no direct flight from Kolkata to Mysore, so we took Kolkata – Bangalore flight. Mysore is around 160 KM from Bangalore and is well accessible by road and train. Approximately it took us 4 hours in car.

While talking about the places to see, the two things that comes to our mind are the Mysore Palace and Tipu Sultan’s palace, but trust me there is much more to see apart from these.  The Mysore Palace is a beautifully made colourful structure which proudly speaks the artistic taste of the Wodeyar dynasty. The main attractions of the palace as per me are the beautifully decorated Ambavilasa (Diwan-e-Khas) and Public Darbar Hall (Diwan- e- Aam). ​​The Sri Shweta Varahaswamy Temple is located at the southern entrance of Mysore Palace. It is a famous ancient temple of Mysore and is a popular tourist and pilgrimage destination. Unfortunately till the time we were there the temple was closed.

Dasara is a major festival of Mysore. It is a 10-day festival culminating on Vijayadashami or tenth day during Navratri. On Vijayadashami, the traditional Dasara procession (locally known as Jumboo Savari) is held on the streets of Mysore city. The main attraction of this Dasara festival is the Mysore Palace which is illuminated with nearly 100,000 light bulbs from 7 pm to 10 pm on all days of the festival.

Our next day started with the blessings of Chamumdeshwari Devi. The Chamundeshwari Temple is located on the top of Chamundi Hills about 13 km from Mysore. To avoid the rush of devotees, its better to leave for the temple early. The hill top offers an attractive bird’s eye view of Mysore city and far off places. There is a huge monolith statue of ‘Nandi” on this hill. Though there is a motorable road to the Chamundeshwari temple, you may try climbing the steps (approx 300)  from this Nandi hill to the temple.

​From the temple we went to the Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens. It is a beautiful, well maintained zoo which spreads over 157-acres and houses more than 160 species. Do wear comfortable shoes. ​There are battery run vehicles (chargeable) to take you around. This might give comfort to your feet but to enjoy the true beauty of this zoo it’s better to walk.

Our next destination was the St. Philomena’s Cathedral. It is an exquisite example of Non Gothic style and is one of the tallest churches in Asia. After spending 15-20 minutes in the church complex we left for Srirangapatna. The Dariya Daulat Bagh (Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace) is one of the major attractions of Srirangapatna. There is a small museum inside this teak-wood palace showcasing various achievements of Tipu Sultan and his administration. The palace is surrounded by a well maintained garden. Though I love to visit historical places most,to be honest I found this spot not that appealing. ​From the palace we went to Tipu Sultan’t Tomb. The Gumbaz holds the graves of Tippu Sultan, his father Hyder Ali and his mother Fakr-Un-Nisa. There are graves of his family members in the other chambers.​

Next we headed towards the Srirangapatnam Fort followed by Brindavan Gardens. This magnificent fort is considered to be the second toughest fort of India. Tipu Sultan’s residence was inside this fort. Hence, it is also known as Tipu Sultan Fort.  The British demolished the major part of the fort. So at resent only the remnants are present.  From the fort we left towards Bridavan Garden.  It is one of the most beautifully laid out terrace gardens in the world located in the Krishnaraja Sagar dam site. It is enriched with a number of terraces, fountains, running and cascading waterchannels, water chutes, floral beds etc. There is a light and sound show scheduled everyday at 7 pm. So if you are interested to watch that try to come here around 5:30 so that you can enjoy both sun and the show.

Mysore is a shoppers paradise. So if you are a shopaholic like me, you might end up spending a couple of thousands. Here you will get world famous fine Mysore Silk sarees, sandalwood oil, sandalwood soaps, perfumes, incense sticks, sandalwood showpieces, Channapatna Toys, chocolate etc. Apart from sandalwood, Mysore is also famous for the delicacy, Mysore Pak. It’s a sweet made of ghee, besan and dryfruits. Even if you are a diet conscious, you should try at least a small bite of it. You can go to Mahalakshmi Sweets as it is famous for Mysore Pak.

Next day our flight was scheduled from Bangaluru. So here comes the end to this short Southern splendour trip. On the way to the airport we took one stop at Channapatna. Here on the roadside you will find couple of outlets selling colourful wooden toys. I have wooden toys back at home but when the finishing the toys is really great how can a shopper likr me resist the urge? So I bagged a couple of those also. For the Bollywood lovers there is one spot on the way. The blockbuster Sholay was filmed here. The Ramgarh village which is the primary backdrop of the movie is actually the Ramnagar town. Our driver showed us few hills and mounds where Gabbar Singh might have uttered his 1st dialogue “Kitne admi the”.

​The trip which started as an official tour ultimately got enriched with the flavours of the southern spices. Mysore has things to offer to all type of travellers. I wish we could have managed to get a couple of more days off from our office and would have covered the nearby destinations aswell.

 

 

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Mumbai in a Day

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Couple of days back while travelling to another place I had a brisk stay in Mumbai for a day. I wanted to go to the Siddhivinayak temple and visit old friends, that’s why planned a day stay there before my trip. But at the end of the day I ended up doing so many things that I felt like pen it down. My this article might help you to prepare your itinerary if you are planning to stay in Mumbai for a day.

I took an evening flight from Kolkata so that I can spend the next day completely in Mumbai. My day started at 6:30 am with the blessings of Siddhivinayak. I have been to Siddhivinayak before when I was travelling for office work. For people who are not aware of the famous Siddhivinayak temple I would like to mention that it’s temple devoted to the Hindu god Lord Shri Ganesha.

My next destination was the Mahalaxmi Temple.  It is situated in the Mahalaxmi area. In the temple the three Deities Shri Mahalakshmi, Shree Mahakali and Shree Mahasaraswati resides. Outside the main temple I saw people holding coins against the wall of the temple. When I asked one of the devotees he explained that it’s a belief that while holding the coin if you make some wish and if your coin gets stuck to the wall it means that Devi will fulfill your wishes.

The Haji Ali Dargah is just a walking distance from Mahalakxmi. It’s located in a island off the sea shore. So from Mahalakshmi my next destination was Haji Ali Dargah.

After a good religious morning I grabbed a vada pav for breakfast and headed towards the Elephanta Caves. It is a network of sculpted caves located on Elephanta Island which is located on a arm of the Arabian Sea. From The Gateway of India you will get to-and-forth boat to the cave. Per ticket costs around INR 200* for both ways ride but if you want to travel on the top deck of the ferry boat then you have to pay INR 10/20* in the boat.

Elephanta is perfect for you if you are in love with your camera. Here you will find beautiful sculptures which are too good to be ignored. The cave is situated at the top of a hill. There are few decent restaurants at the top so you can plan your lunch there. By the time I returned to the main land it was already 6 pm. I was tired but still had the last drop of energy left to head towards Juhu Beach.

It’s relaxing to soak your feet in the warm water of the sea after a tiring day. Nothing can be better if you have a plate of pav bhaji and kulfi to accompany. Unfortunately that day I was too tired to explore more of Mumbai. So after that I just crawled back to my hotel… next day I have to move towards my destination.

Raichak on Ganges

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A small weekend trip is always a refreshing treat to our mundane life. It becomes more exciting if it’s completely unplanned. People who are from Kolkata or from southern part of West Bengal are familiar with Raichak but for the people who are from other locations I would like to mention that Raichak is a spot near the confluence of river Ganges and Bay of Bengal. It is good for a weekend trip or day outing where you can spend time by the side of the Ganges, take boat rides and relax, much away from the bustling Kolkata.

Me and my husband were having a good fight over morning tea as our planned weekend trip got cancelled and we were wondering on what to do on our Holi weekend. After trying a lot of options suddenly we got a booking in Fort Raichak. Since it was a holiday no one was there in their booking office to confirm our booking so based on the online receipt only we packed our backpack. From Kolkata there is regular non AC bus service to Raichak. But it was too late for us to look for the bus and get a ticket. Since it was a one day trip we booked an Ola outstation cab. This was the 1st mistake we did. In future we would think twice before booking a Ola outstation. Our driver left us at Raichak and returned back to Kolkata as he was not comfortable with an overnight stay. So if you ever book an outstation trip get things clear before the trip only.

The Ffort is a nice property maintained by the Ambuja Neotia. Originally it was a British Fort with two hundred years of rich heritage. The place is a perfect blend of  heritage with modern luxuries. No doubt it’s costly. All the rooms costs Rs 7000+ ! The Ffort, Ganga Kutir and Anaya Kutir are in the same premises. There are other budget hotels also nearby however, those are not available over net.

Couple of things which I found good about this property are the restaurant Sonar Tori where you will get to taste authentic Bengali cuisine, the river cruise, and the well maintained rooms and swimming pools.

The Raichak bus stand and the ferry ghat is only a kilometer away from the Ffort. So if you want to go for a river cruise with the locals, you may try the to and fro ferry ride to Kukrahati. There are a couple of small food joints outside the premises. If you have faced a pinch in your pocket after seeing the price of the mineral water bottle (Rs 150!+tax) on the hotel’s menu, you can get it from here at the MRP.

The check in time of the resort is 6PM, so on Sunday day we did nothing expect relaxing. Next day after breakfast we took a stroll around the property, along the river side and spent time in the pool. We also went to the bus stop and the ferry ghat. Though we had a nice and relaxing weekend trip as a traveler I would like to point out the following:

  1. Get your bottles from outside
  2. The quantity of foods served do not go with the price they charge
  3. Though the rooms are good and well maintained sometimes the room rent might make to think if it’s worth.

Continue reading “Raichak on Ganges”

The Hot and Happening GOA

GOA a name, often related to parties, beaches, Sunburn and beer, is a tourist destination highly acclaimed by the Indian and foreign travelers. Goa offers serene beaches, blue ocean as well as beautiful temples, churches, markets and waterfalls to its travelers. If you want to explore Goa and is staying for at least 3 days, you should cover North Goa  on day 1, Dudhsagar and parts of South Goa on Day 2 and can keep the Island trip/South Goa beach trip and shopping for Day 3.

Among the beaches, as per me the must visits are:

  1. North Goa:
    1. Baga Beach
    2. Calangute Beach
    3. Anjuna Beach
    4. Vagator Beach
    5. Morjim Beach
    6. Arambol Beach
  1. South Goa:
    1. Bogmalo Beach
    2. Betalbatim Beach

 Your Goa trip would be incomplete if you don’t cover the following spots:

  1. Aguada Fort
  2. Dudhsagar Water Fall (the picturesque waterfall of Chennai Express movie)
  3. Sahakari Spice Farm (Organic farm)
  4. Mangesh Temple
  5. Basilica of Bom Jesus church (must visit as you can see the mortal remains of St Francis Xavier in a glass-sided coffin)
  6. Dolphin Trip
  7. Deltin Royale Casino

 

Places to stay:  There are plenty of hotels/resorts of varied budgets available. We stayed in Terra Paraiso Beach Resort, North Goa. It’s in Calangute, 2 Km from the beach. If you want to stay away from the hustle- bustle of the Calangute/Baga and want to enjoy the Sun and waves, you may stay at Golden Eye Beach Shack, Morjim Beach.

Travel Tips:

  1. Should carry waterproof sunsceen (SPF 70+), sunglass, hat, beach wear and flip flops.
  2. Must try Goan Fish Curry, Sea Foods, Chicken Vindaloo, Chicken Xacuti, Kings Beer and Cashew Feni.
  3. Do bargain for whatever products you are buying. It’s applicable for cab rentals also.
  4. Hotel people might recommend Island trip along with Scuba/ Snorkeling. As per me it’s not worth. Both Snorkeling and Scuba is done in Grand Island where you will get to see only jelly fishes and some squids. Also there is no proper arrangement for the activities. During booking the agents may highlight that even a non-swimmer can experience the under-water world  but at the spot they suggest only the trained swimmers to dive.

Welcome to my page…

This is the post excerpt.

Hello everyone, this is  Sarmistha. My husband and I are the tiny creatures of the big corporates who strive to manage some time out for long vacations. So whenever we get some scope, may be a extended holiday or a weekend we plan trips.

Among sea beaches, mountains, deserts and forests we are a bit biased with the mighty Himalayas. Its serene beauty and tranquility gives the most awaited peace which rejuvenates us.

Apart from travelling, we are passionate about capturing the travel memories in lenses.