Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Getaway from Mumbai To Goa

I have been to Goa many times and always with set of friends/relatives who want to have a great time. Each time, I get to see Goa in a different perspective. There is Sun, beach, culture and food, Depending on your interest, you need to plan your itinerary.  In old Goa, the history comes alive with churches like  St.Agustine Church, Basillica of Bom Jesus Church, or you visit temples like Balaji temple, Mangesh temple, Mahalasa Naryani temple, Shanta Durga temple, Mahalaxmi temple, or you could also visit forts and museums. You take a cruise through Mandovi River, and the cultural program, that is performed on the boat is splendid. And of course, there are beaches every where, The city is full of tourist from all over the world and when you go for shopping, you feel as if you are in distant land, there are rows and rows of shopping lanes that look like a flea market showcasing beach-ware, hats, sun glasses, handicraft, jewellery and odds and ends. The city is clean and walking down the dirt roads or on the sand by the beach is pure delight.

This trip, touring around the city was not on my itinerary, this was purely a trip to spend quality time with bunch of friends (32 women to be exact) in some comfortable resort (we had checked in Aguada Anchorage resort). Most of our time was spend at the resort itself with lunches and dinners at nearby exotic places.

During my 3-days-stay at the resort, a secret outing was planned by the organisers. We were asked to get into the hotel bus and go some place. The suspense was unrevealed when we reach Coco beach.

The excitement grew as soon as we saw the boats anchored at the shore. All of us hurried towards the hat stall and started shopping for hats  and sun glasses (Yes, we women are like that only, if we see something, we patronise the person who making a living, we have to BUY, if not for ourselves, then for people back home)

One hat on our head and two held in our hands, we walked down the stony, uneven path to aboard the boats (I wish there was a smooth steady path leading towards the boat, there are hundreds of tourists visiting these places everyday, but it was not easily accessible for the old and the handicap, getting into the boat was quite an effort)

But once, into the boat, it was an awsom ride. The cool breeze caressing our faces, the gentle swaying of the boat was soothing as we rowed down the stream. The boatman shared his knowledge, pointing out to the buildings lining up the shores, showiing us the Goa Central jail, fort Aguada, a house where “Hasina Maan Jaygi’ was shot, then there was  Bollywood stars, (Jacky Shroff’s and Amir Khan) houses. and surprises of surprises, when I saw two Dolphins shoot up in the mid air for fraction of a second and dive back in.

My interest was now focused in waiting for those Dolphin again. I mean, they were so quick, jumping above waters, then dispearing into waters, with their slimy dynamic black bodies twirling in synchrony, much to our delight. Nobody had warned me about this. This was the surprise. I followed their movements, straining to see under water, watching their every moment as they swam across at a high speed. "Look there! Look there!" everybody was squealing as they followed their movements. 

There were many boats on the waters, but they were no threat to the dolphins, this was a no-fishing-zone (Dolphins knew that)

This was thirty minutes ride, but most satisfying one.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Weekend Getaway From Mumbai

When summer heat is too much to bear and you need to get away from Mumbai, there are many interesting places to visit in Maharashtra where you can spend few days or weekend perhaps.

Just 275kms away from Mumbai is the hill station called Mahabaleshwar. The scene changes drastically and you are transported to a cleaner air, that has sweet fragrance of plants and flowers, lush green foliage, red mud path, misty sky with extra icing of cool weather and tasty meals.

The road leading to this place is interesting too. There are waterfalls and narrow winding paths as you climb up the hills to reach the city.

I went last weekend and the weather was beautiful. Although its rainy season, we were lucky that it rained only when we were indoors. The sky remained misty most of the time. But we had fun walking through the market place, to some scenic spots and through beautiful parks.

My friends did some shopping like buying foot ware and shawls but I enjoyed nibbling on street food that was available every few meters.

The food was excellent, specially the Maharastrain fare of pohas, sabudhana vadas and lentils. The vegetables used were fresh and locally grown. The stalls looked colorful with carrots and strawberries lining the roads at market place and also at all points of interest

The city is crowded and is become more commercialized with more hotels mushrooming every year. There is too much traffic too which is quite frustrating. But if you go into the interiors, it is bliss.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Touring the City Part 3

Continuing with my series on ‘Touring the City of Mumbai’ I guide you to some places in Mumbai that you can also explore on your own. I have lived in Mumbai for most of my life and have loved every moment. Many times I get guests from abroad who want to see the city. I don’t always go out with them but yes I do guide them at no extra cost.

All I give is the information on where to go. What to do and what you see, is for your eyes only. You can always come back and share your pictures with me. I will be happy to post your experiences on my blog.

So, lets start our tour from Nariman point..

First things first. Rent a car. You can either book a car for one full day, or you can call a cab, 30minutes before the ride from any venue for a short trip. There are many taxi services in Mumbai (Read about Taxiservices in Mumbai from my earlier post.)

I would prefer to rent a car if I just want to drive around the city, but if I have to see the depth of the place, I would rather call for a cab for shorter distances.

So lets start from Nariman point at 7am

 Enjoy the sea breeze while you wait for a cab to take you to Gateway of India

Drop the cab and walk around the sea shore. Take a boat ride to enjoy the sea.

Opposite Gateway of India is the beautiful architecture, you can admire of TajMahal hotel

Would you like to go for breakfast of egg and sausages in a coffee shop at Taj Mahal Hotel? Or else, there are many more restaurants around that area…...take your pick.

Call for a cab at 10am 

Ask him at take you to Victoria Garden, (also called Veermata Jijbai udyan) at Byculla in the heart of Mumbai. Some time can be spend in this beautiful garden that has botanical garden, zooand also AlbertMuseum now known as The Bhau Daji Lad Museum that contains large collection of archeological artifacts

A light lunch would be advisable, perhaps a sandwich or some light street food. There is an Iranian restaurant in Byculla where you could try some cakes and pastries.

At 4pm call for cab to take you to Malabar hill via Mahalaxmi
Where you can see Dhobi Ghat, a big laundry area.

And pass via Hajii Ali

If you are not too tired, you could walk the path through sea and go to see the mosque.

Or else, proceed to Kamala Nehru Park at Malabar hill
Drop the cab.

Spend some time walking around the park

And Hanging gardens

And enjoy the great view of Chowpathy from up above.

At 6pm call for a cab to take you to back to Nariman point.

On you route you can pass via heritage sites like

 Victoria Terminus now known as Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus

Elphinstone College

Mumbai University

Rajabhai tower

 and via Marine drive, back to Nariman point. Now relax and have lovely dinner at Trident……

My earlier post on ‘Touring The City’

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Mumbai wakes up to #EqualStreets

Woke up to the loud cheers down the street, drew the bedroom curtain and saw road converted to ‪#‎EqualStreet Children skated in the middle of the road, cyclist did acrobats on their cycle wheels, musician played tunes. The street was bustling with excitement, it seemed like a street party. All the traffic was diverted to one side of road while the other side of linking road was converted to sporting ground during the early hours of this Sunday morning..

pic source
The idea behind this #EqualStreet is to take back street from oppressive traffic. It has become impossible for pedestrians to walk freely on the road because of lack of footpaths and cycle lanes.

In an attempt to help reclaim streets for people, EMBARQ India has initiated “Equal Streets – A Citizens’ Movement” with the help of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) and Mumbai Traffic Police, and with support from the Times of India Group.

Equal Streets is here to stay and will be held every Sunday at different streets of Mumbai.

Do visit their Facebook page to know about the events taking place on Sundays.

The name "Bombay" was derived from 'Bom Bahia' (The Good Bay),

.... a name given by Portuguese sailor Francis Almeida, in 1508 ....“Bounce back Mumbai” it is called by the locals, it is a city that has been through a lot in the recent past – floods, bomb blasts, riots – and come out stronger each time.

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