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.