Every tourist city has a dummy attraction the one for tourists and another real attraction for locals, which feels dummy to tourist. The road exactly opposite to Mall road, going towards bus stand had a local life at its peak that evening. Inauguration ceremony of a shop was in full swing. A person next to us tapped on my shoulder and said “Ruko ruko abhi Amitabh Bhachchan ane wala hai.” A loud cheer went up from crowd. My eyes were now fixed on Amitabh Bachchan…
Shopping at the suspicious market of Dharamshala!!!
We entered a famous market in McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala. Despite the type of shops some things were very common; the free Tibet flags or posters outside every shop, continuous passing of messages from one owner to another and of course shop attendant/owner least interested to sell their goods. As soon as we came out of a shop a rickshaw went passed us announcing something in Tibetan language. That announcement changed our perception about Dharamshala forever…!
8900 satellites are rare!
A telescope was set in the corner of Grand View Hotel, located on the edge of Dalhousie. Tejas had done all his set up. He now focused his device on the most seen object in the night sky, the moon. He was adjusting his telescope for quite a long and we were now losing interest. He called us and told us to look fast at what was out there. I could see a tiny spot moving in the background of bright moon. That tiny spot was moving quite fast. Tejas said this was one of the best things he had seen throughout his life in that dark sky.
Hyderabad made me forget Pune.
We left Pune for Hyderabad on the eighth day of ten-day Ganapati Festival. The driver took small lanes to skip barricades on main road to finally reach the hotel. I was missing the grand Ganapati Festival of Pune still somehow the old city tour and Golconda fort tour kept me busy for two days. While coming from both these tours increasing barricades were creating traffic jam. Not knowing the reason we asked the Driver to which he casually said, “This is the preparation for idol immersion rally.” This dialogue changed the complete tour.
Mumbai- The Phoenix’s city.
Just a month after the demise of my Father it was impossible for us to stay at home during the Diwali Festival. With no pre-planning we decided to go to our favorite city, Mumbai. The visit to Gateway of india, Taj Mahal Palace, Bombay stock exchange and lastly heaven for tongue Girgaum chowpatty each had a story to tell. Continue reading to know how this one day in Mumbai made me think, Mumbai is not only the city of dreams but also a Phoenix City.
The Ghost Town of Dhanushkodi.
A minibus ride took us 4kms to the ghost town of Dhanushkodi. The tire of our mini bus was stuck in the sand. We were stuck there until another minibus came with a wooden plank and used it as make shift bridge in between two sand dips. As per mythology, this is supposed to be the holy place where the Ram Setu or Adams Bridge, was built by Rama’s army. However, the first sight of this Ghost town was horrifying: ruined houses, temples, churches all due to the deadly 1964 cyclone. The horrific destruction and completely opposite natures bounty are about to open our eyes about human nature.
Rajasthan has huge kitchens.city.
Rajasthan like its huge ghagras, forts, people with gigantic moustaches and of course their huge welcoming hearts, also has huge kitchens. How do I know? Well, we had an opportunity to cook in Rajasthan. Being a Punekar, the urge for Poha is never ending but the only breakfast item we found readily available on Dhaba was Paratha. Finally, finding Poha we ordered one, but to our disappointment it tasted worst. To suffice our taste buds we entered the Dhaba kitchen and inside we found the true Rajasthan.
A person showing his cherries in Pondicherry…!
The French town of India has a huge coastline. Within two days we covered almost all heavily crowded beaches of Pondicherry. To avoid the heavy crowd, hotel staff suggested us the silver beach or the Cuddalore beach, a 30mins ride from our hotel. The panoramic view of beautiful golden sand could not fit in our eye as it was spread across the large C- shape of the beach. After a long dip in the sea we chose to have some Maggi but before we could take the first bite, we heard something move from behind the rocks. A man almost 6ft tall came out completely nude and with all the dirt.
Licking it clean!
Bikaner is highly famous for its Farsan and thus we bought 7 varieties of Farsan out of which we finished 5 even before leaving Bikaner. The next day we were to travel to the rat temple of India and on our way there we had finished off the other two Farsan packets. Now being a good tourist I had kept all the packets in my sack. As soon as we entered the Rat temple we saw thousands of rats licking the milk and mithai kept for them. This rang a bell in my head and within minutes I was licking the Farsan packets inside out. Read more to know how this incidence ruined ice-cream for my lifetime.
On the other side of the gate!
We reached Wagah border at around 3:30pm for the 5:15pm parade show. The security check took a long time as the line I was standing in, was of course the slowest one. We reached the viewing gallery gate which was closed. We asked the guard and he said it was full. As I and my dad could not enter the gallery we settled on a boulder with a certain height. Immediately, four army men with two dogs came and told us to get down. They came near and inquired about us. Within minutes of our curious questions, they were sharing their experiences. These experiences made us happy that we were lucky not getting a chance to sit in the gallery.
Everybody is treated like a god in God’s own country, Kerala.
One peculiar spa in Guruvayur attracts people to just watch the massage and get relaxed. The Punnathur Kotta Elephant yard in Gurvayur is a spa for elephants. Our driver, Nisar was giving us information till we waited for the entry ticket, “Sir the animal activists find this place as hell for elephant.” This alerted us as we thought there might be something very disturbing about the place. As against the elephants seemed to be really enjoying their treatment except for one who was harshly trumpeting for too long and was rampantly trying to break the chains tied to a concrete block near him. What happened later will completely change your perception about the place.
Dharamshala stadium under attack!
Dharamshala along with its monastery is also famous for its beautiful Cricket Stadium. Cricket fans can never miss that view: The white capped Dhauladhar ranges creating a magnificent backdrop for Dharamshala Cricket Stadium (HPCA), the clouds playing peek a boo with the mountains, the red pagoda stand is highlighted in light blue sky. Amidst the “Kohli, Kohli” cheering in my mind I could now hear a buzz out of nowhere. It gained back my attention to the present but still could not find the source of this buzz. The buzz was only getting stronger and now everyone looked in each possible direction. Suddenly my mother shouted, “Everyone just duck there are bees coming from behind.” The bees took two or three rounds of the stand, just like the spider cam but instead of rising up and waving we were now just ducking down. The stadium was now attacked by angry buzzing bees.
Nothing is Hot in Munnar.
After a sharp right turn, we could see a patch of light probably our destination we thought. The driver confirmed that it was Munnar, the paradise on Earth. Excited to smell the tea gardens we opened windows for about a second and immediately closed them. The freezing cold air hit our faces like thousands of small needles. The lobby clock showed 1℃ as the current temperature in small red just below 9:30pm in bold. As the kitchen was about to we went straight to the restaurant to find everything that was served was made almost from ice. Read the complete tale to find out how we find one thing which was warm in Munnar.
Garjiya: The protector against the wild.
With 30+ fatal animals and reptiles roaming around, Ramnagar needed some protection from the Jim Corbett National park. Hence the locals prayed to impress Garjiya Devi (Hindu Goddess) and then she settled down on a Mountain in Kosi river. WE chose to walk through the fierce flowing kosi river towards the temple. Tired from our river adventure, my aunt waited to gasp some air before climbing the steep stairs of the temple. Showing our vigour, we started climbing the stairs, midway through we could hear aunt shouting from below. Immediately running down, we saw two monitor lizards in her way staring at her. Amidst this chaos something miraculous was going to happen which changed our faith in god.
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