Weekend Getaway : Pawna – First camping experience

So here is the long weekend again, and I am also out again for some different experience. We see movies, often go to beaches, but that is too mainstream for a weekend to spend like. So on this long weekend I decided to go for camping, and when you are in Pune, Pawna lake is one of the top choices for sleeping under stars.

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Located around 15 km from Lonavala, the Pawna Lake is one of the least explored artificial lakes in the vicinity of Pune. Nestled amidst the scenic locales of Kamshet, this lake came into existence after the construction of the Pawna Dam, and now it plays a scenic host for camping, picnics and sightseeing.

Cossetted by the pristine and untouched beauty of the nature, the lake is now gaining attention of the mass and caters to the need of a quick weekend getaway for the locals and the guests as well. In addition to its scenic beauty, the fact that it is located in a close contact with historic forts like Lohgad, Tikona and Tungi, it also makes it for a delightful treat for the holiday mongers.

So we drove our two wheeler for those 45 kms, and reached there in an hour and twenty mins. Roads were a bit damp in starting and the end route was worst I have ever seen, but eventually, boys a bit rusty, girls a bit frightened, we reached.

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The camp site started to affectionate us immediately with it’s cool breezy wind, cleanliness, and some good snacks (not to forget :p). We got freshened up and move to our tent for which we had choices and went to take some chill from the lake.

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The waves were calm and giving us the silence we wanted.

As soon as the night arrived with a crescent moon and a whole bunch of stars covering the sky and giving us a beautiful view from beneath to make our visit more worthy. The campfire became a necessity after 10 pm as it was so windy and cool that girls took out the bed sheets to cover them up from the chill.

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After some of the dancing, guitar sessions and a birthday bash, we all moved into our respective tents while some decided to stay awake and booze all night.

Mornings at these place pushes you to think to never go back, but the thought soon vanished when the hard sunshine made the tent a no-entry zone. So we had our breakfast- some poha and tea and some quick snaps before we started returning back from there.

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Well, when you are wandering in a village full of mango trees, the thief kid automatically comes out and we ended up filling our bag with lot of mangoes.

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I was having a thought that a camping experience is something over-hyped by Bollywood movies but damn this experience was amazingly great. No laptops, no WiFi, no disturbance. Its just you- we were a bunch of guys who were there just to relax ourselves from office struggles and had a great experience. Loved the entire experience.

Plan for a night camp at Pawna lake and the forts nearby on your next trip and I am sure it is going to amaze you with its beautiful experience. 🙂

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Go Goa Gone : Monsoon Trip

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East meets West in this sun-soaked state, where Indian culture intertwines with Portuguese influences. The beaches have long served as a magnet for the ones like me who can spend hours on a beach staring at the long end of the ocean.

The Goa’s mandatory “Dil Chahta Hai” pic still gives me the chill and thrill to leave Pune and get settled in Goa for as long as I can live. I was planning for a solo trip to Goa on my birthday earlier in September but some how the plan didn’t work out.

So I, with my bunch of friends decided to take a trip during the monsoon, as we could experience a different face of Goa from what we have heard so far, ‘sun-soaked’ as I already mentioned.

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We planned our trip during the Dussehra holidays where I ditched a cousin’s wedding to be a part of long holding re-union where some of the friends joined from Bangalore and Kerala.We booked our rooms in a average looking villa next to Vagator beach which  is not commercialized like Baga and Calangute beaches.

It was a trip after a long time and also outside Pune, so I was quite excited at the same time was trying to be relaxed as much as I can, and It worked out that way 🙂 obviously when with friends.

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The weather was at its best during our visit. As we expected with the monsoon, it was drizzling in the mornings and the climate became pleasant and chilly at the same time through out the day. There were so much greenery around which reminded me of Kerala all the time and also crowd is very less during this time of the year.

It was an exceptional beach experience. We could just sit on the beach for hours and relax with a bottle of red bull (some had beer :P) and not worry about the sun too much. We did visit some famous forts as well. Was busy performing a photographer, so couldn’t get my own pics there.

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We also did a road trip to Dudhsagar falls which is near Goa-Karnataka Border which was real fun, but due to heavy rain couldn’t actually see it. So we managed it with a pic nearby.

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However while coming back I got a view of it from my train’s seat’s window.

We also experimented with some tattoos, temporary ones, only to get the urge to get a permanent one soon. Also I did my first adventure sport i.e. para-sailing, first cut of my 20 in 20’s.

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We stayed for 3 days and it was a wonderful trip which got over quite soon. I would only suggest to people to try Goa’s monsoon season.

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So with a promise to come again soon we wished bid adieu to all time loved Goaaaaa!!!

Travel Bucket List : States of India

I haven’t been on a trip for long as it’s already been over 3-4 months now. But nomad inside me keeps on crying for some new experiences and keeps on pinning me for at least plan for some future trips.

Being in an Incredible Country Like India, I have never even visited half of the places or states in the country. So I thought why to think out of the box when you still have the whole box to explore.

So here I am with the list of the Indian states I have visited and tasted it’s culture so far. It is a fun check list to maintain and I thought this will make me plan my future domestic trips better.

States

1. Andhra Pradesh
2. Arunachal Pradesh
3. Assam
4. Bihar
5. Chhatisgarh
6. Goa ✔
7. Gujarat
8. Haryana ✔
9. Himachal Pradesh
10. Jammu & Kashmir
11. Jharkhand
12. Karnataka
13. Kerala ✔
14. Madhya Pradesh
15. Maharashtra ✔
16. Manipur
17. Meghalaya
18. Mizoram
19. Nagaland
20. Orissa
21. Punjab
22. Rajasthan
23. Sikkim
24. Tamil Nadu ✔
25. Tripura
26. Uttar Pradesh ✔
27. Uttaranchal ✔
28. West Bengal
29. Telangana

Union Territory
1. Andaman & Nicobar Islands
2. Chandigarh
3. Dadra & Nagar Haveli
4. Daman & Diu
5. Delhi ✔
6. Lakshadweep
7. Pondicherry

I know you must be wondering that it’s almost fully unchecked. It is mainly because of my first steps out of my hometown took me directly to the southern part of India. But there are lot of solo and group trips planned towards northern part too and I am super excited for it, specially for Uttranchal.

Well I am always open for sponsored trips. 😛 (Just kidding but I won’t really say no for one)

I will keep updating this once I visit any other state. So do come back to read the update.

How many Indian states have you put your steps in? Comment below the place and one thing you love about it.
( P.S: If you have missed to read my 20 in 20’s post, read it here. I am updating it regularly:D)
Once I am done at least with half of the states, I’ll share one thing I love about them, excited about that post, even I am.. 🙂

12 Amazing facts about Pune!!!

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Pune is a sprawling city in the western Indian state of Maharashtra. It was once the base of the Peshwas (prime ministers) of the Maratha Empire, which lasted from 1674 to 1818. It’s known for the grand Aga Khan Palace, built in 1892 and now a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, whose ashes are preserved in the garden. The 8th-century Pataleshwar Cave Temple is dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva.

I got to move from Trivandrum to Pune in March 2015 for my new job. After arriving here I got accommodation at Bavdhan, a moving yet comforting place.

Today on my anniversary with this beautiful city lets walk through 12 amazing facts about Pune.

-> Pune is the only city in India, where there are seven deemed Universities.

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-> An Emerging IT Hub and giving a tough competition to Bangalore.

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-> Heavenly Climate to chill around with your friends

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-> The Grand Celebrations of Ganesh Utsav.

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-> Pune has the highest number of 2-wheelers in the World!

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-> Events 24 x 7

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-> The Sporting Spirit which never dies.

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-> Foodie nature of Punekars !

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-> Chilling with friends over a beer or dancing the night away till your feet hurt, the nightspots of Pune has it all.

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-> Famous for Shopping in areas like FC Road, Fashion Street, Laxmi Road etc.

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-> Pune is known as oxford of the east as there are many schools and colleges and some are too old.

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-> Theres a tapri at every 100 mtrs .

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Do visit Pune once, different experience of a mixture of a commercial and urban life.

I bet you don’t wanna miss India’s “World Trade Center” here. 😛

Travel Bucket List : Wanderlust

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Obsession of travel bucket, you can’t keep it away from a nomad heart. Being one, even I had lot of lists that keep my heart pumped throughout. I make lists for what I need to do, where I need to visit next, and what I want to eat next time I’m back in my home town, Lists are life, people.

Here is the first list which comes right out of my desires, describing the moments which I am waiting for to make my life a bit more memorable for me.

This list will be ever-growing & ever-changing as I cross things off and meet new people who inspire me.

It is only natural I make a list of place I want to go and things I want to see. This list will be the best gift from me to me on my 24th birthday i.e. today.

PS: I’ve made one specific to India as well: My Indian Travel Bucket

  1. Northern Lights in Finland (I went but missed them!)
  2. Stay in a castle overnight
  3. See a lion in the wild
  4. See the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt
  5. Go to Antarctica & see PENGUINS!
  6. Rent a van and tour New Zealand
  7. Stay in one of those ice hotels in Iceland
  8. Ride in a helicopter over the ocean
  9. Visit Harry Potter World in Florida
  10. Meet the Dalai Lama
  11. Visit the Andaman Islands
  12. Go to Disney
  13. Visit Israel and explore Jerusalem
  14. Visit Vatican City and explore about Holy Grail
  15. Camel Safari in the desert

What’s on your travel bucket list? Anything you think I’ve massively missed? I’m adding stuff as it comes so tell me.

My Indian Travel Bucket

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You all might know that I have several travel bucket lists which I want to fulfil in this lifetime. And having Indian ethnicity, it would be a spray if I think of the world before gaining the internal, spiritual experience which India can offer.

Again, why to think out of the box when you still have the whole box to explore.

So here is my Indian travel bucket list. I’ve had things jotted down the states I have visited, the things I want to do before turning 30, things for which I need to jump out of the nest, so why not give a post bit of respect to the travel desires that can be fulfilled in India only where people come from so so far. As I do things I’ll link them on here so you can see and find some inspiration to this kind of stuff.

  • Ride the slow local in Mumbai.
  • Feel the wind full of peace in God’s own country.
  • Feel the monsoon droplets in Goa.
  • Eat scrumptious Tibetan food like street momo’s in Dharamsala.
  • Trek through the tea fields of Darjeeling or Munnar.
  • Wander through the Temples of Khajuraho, also known as the kama sutra temples.
  • Stay at the Oberoi and have a butler pour me tea while I look out my window at the Taj Mahal. One can dream, right?
  • Go to a trance party in Goa
  • Spend time in the famous “pink city” of Jaipur.
  • Trek through Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh.
  • Take a day trip to the Allora and Ajanta caves from Pune. Still can’t believe I haven’t taken the time to do this.
  • Go to Kumbh Mela once.
  • Go to Sikkim. Far up north, it has a mountain peak that you can see the top of Mt. Everest from and is very different from India with some Far East Asia inspiration.
  • Go white water rafting. You can do this in Rishikesh and Goa for sure.
  • Plan to meet the Dalai Lama and learn from him in McLeod Ganj where him and other Tibetan people are taking refuge. He has public classes where he’ll discuss meditation, life, and love.
  • Take in the views of the boulders in Hampi.
  • Have lunch at the golden temple in Amritsar.
  • See the Wacky Wagah border (the Indian-Pakistan border) where a show is put on.
  • See the last remaining Indian one-horned rhinos which are going extinct if we don’t do more to protect them. They are in Kaziranga National Park in Assam.
  • Take a boat ride around the lake palace in Udaipur. The Palace “floats” in the city that is called the “Venice of India”
  • Take a horse ride on the hill.
  • Take the trip through the Rohtang pass from Manali to Leh to see the valleys and views that made Rudyard Kipling say “Surely the gods live here. This is no place for man”.
  • Go to KanyaKumari and look out at the most southern tip of India where 3 seas meet. What a holy place!
  • Go to the Taj Mahal at sunset and get that “perfect” photo… then bolt before the crowds come!
  • Look out at the breathtaking “blue city” of Jodhpur From the top of Mehrangarh Fort
  • Ride a yak in the Himalayas.
  • Feel the chill in Gangas.

Even today I actually can’t believe that I live in this amazing magical country with so much to offer! What would you add to this India travel bucket list? I’ll be editing it as the months go by, for feel free to send me some ideas. I know there are hundreds more out there & can’t wait to hear what you think of these bucket list ideas.

Where do YOU want to go in India?

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Kodaikanal : Beauty of the Rolling Hills

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Kodaikanal is a hill town in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, quite covered with cliffs, forested valleys, lakes, waterfalls and grassy hills. At 2,000 meters above sea level, the town centers around man-made, star-shaped Kodaikanal Lake, bordered by evergreen forest.

It has a lot to offer including boating, hiking, cycling follow the 5k Lake Road path around the shore. Several forests to enthrill, caves to whoooo about, valleys to fascinate, and scenes to mesmerise and most importantly a winter like wave to chill even in the summer oriented South India.

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So we planned our trip in July, 2015 as being in Trivandrum, it is not a far place to reach. So an overnight journey through train to Madurai and a bus journey of 4 hours lands us to the south India’s queen of hills. There we booked a travel guide, who took us to several places and thank to it , we were able to cover a lot.

The  dense forest with many varieties of trees, the huge rocks in the wilderness and the enchanting waterfalls, a walk along the valley on the path of Coaker’s walk with some breathtaking views, made it a real gift for us.
There are vendors along the walk selling handicraft items like earrings which are of very good quality and are very reasonably priced!

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Lets go through some of the cherished moments of the trip. Scenic beauty, some dark caves, and heavenly edge of the world.

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So let me know when you plan for Kodaikanal. 😉

Weekend Getaway- Kanyakumari : Southern Tip of India

Since I have arrived in God’s own country, I was planning for a trip but somehow couldn’t executed. But in September, Onam vacation gives us a long weekend to cash in.

On a fine breezy Saturday morning I with my 5 friends, boarded a bus from Trivandrum to Kanyakumari, the southern tip of India. It was a 3 hour fun filled journey, and we reached there by 12 noon. We got a sea facing hotel. We freshened up fast and headed for lunch.

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Kanyakumari is a coastal town in the state of Tamil Nadu on India’s southern tip. Jutting into the Laccadive Sea, the town was known as Cape Comorin during British rule and is popular for watching sunrise and sunset over the ocean.

So how could we miss the all important sunset. And when we reach there this was something which I remember even now, a bird shaped sunset lights. Beautiful.

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The other day, we decided to see the the Vivekananda Rock Memorial, the temple and Thiruvalluar statue.

Vivekananda rock is more of a sacred monument dedicated to one of the most revered spiritual leaders – Swami Vivekananda.

Thiruvallavur Statue, a gigantic 133 feet (41 m) tall statue of Tamil saint-poet Thiruvalluvar is one of the biggest statues in Asia.

It was quite interesting.

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It is an island located in the middle of the sea. So we bought tickets for the boats, wore life saving jackets and reached in 20 mins.

We were not allowed to take photos inside so we made up with some of them outside.

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In the evening, we spent time walking through the crowded streets with local shops. We managed to bargain for some of the items like rings, clothes and stuff. There was also a park nearby so we spent some time sitting next to it’s boundaries and just talking.

We were exhausted and just packed our dinner and headed back to the hotel.

Next morning, I woke up early and with one of my friends, headed to see the all famous sunset. And guess what I got to see, clouds. But still I was able to get some snaps.

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After breakfast, by 9 am, we boarded a bus back to our place, being happy about a beautiful weekend.

Now I can say, I have mapped India from “U.P. to Kanyakumari”.

Did I use the wrong quote, oh yeah, Kashmir. We’ll go there sometime later. 🙂