Others

Hike to Sourdough Mountain

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4th July 2015:
I had first attempted this mountain with few inters on 4th of July – 2015 and this was my first hike in the Pacific North West region. We were hardly prepared for this hike and couldn’t summit that day.

11th June 2016:
Someone recently posted on the meetup about this hike and I took it as an opportunity to take another shot and glad I did. We summited it quite comfortably(cold was a slight issue) this time but clouds blocked the views at the summit. It was amazing that I could remember the trail from my previous attempt so much and I enjoyed retracing it. The trail gains 3000ft elevation in the first 2 miles and that was what we had completed during the first attempt. We had done the steepest and toughest part but it was still 3 miles more to the summit.

While coming down, at places I could slide just on my shoes which was fun. There was a creek to be crossed and I was almost crushed by the loose stones while stepping on the bank. It didn’t take too long for the descent and it was a good hike.

Activity Overview

13th October 2018:
Being adamant about the views from the top on a clear day, I chose to hike again on this weekend with friends from school, meetup and office. We reached the trailhead by 9:30 AM and the parking lot itself had some beautiful yellow colored trees. We started hiking at 9:40 AM and made our way to the ridge slowly in pleasant weather. The fall colors were beautiful to see. The color of Diablo lake wasn’t a bright turquoise (for which I might come back again) but the views on the other side of the ridge kind of made for it. Blue lake with pointy peaks and some snow capped were breathtaking. We reached the lookout by 1:45 PM and gathered for lunch. Everyone started unpacking the food one by one and I was surprised by the variety and portions. There were chocolates, home made food, chips, fruits, dry fruits, etc and we all filled our hungry stomachs. I tried to take a nap and I was surprised that I actually fell asleep. It was one of the most effective naps I have had. I felt so good and recharged once I got up that I forgot I endured so much to get to the top. Also, finding the ice needles was the most surprising part of the hike.

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Bunch of short strands of ice were dispersed on the trail and we found more under the soil. The hair like formations looked like crystals under the Sun and it was just mind-blowing. After enjoying the surrounding views, we descended very quickly and the evening colors in the parking lot gave a pleasant welcome.

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This hike kind of tracked my hiking progress in PNW. Unprepared hiking during the first attempt, braving the whiteout conditions during the second and promotion to an organizer during the third.

Activity Overview

Photos and Videos

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Kaleetan peak summit attempt via lake Melakwa

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This was one of the most intense meetups I have attended till now. It was a combination of a dangerous summit attempt, brave and selfless people and beautiful scenery.

It was a hot day and the hike till Lake Melakwa was tiring by itself. We rested till everyone caught up and started for Kaleetan peak. There were some steep sections till the first peak. The views were spectacular as usual with great visibility. We had to descend a bit to get to base of Kaleetan and then had to scramble to reach the peak. There was a steep section with snow which we had to cut across to reach the base. An experienced guy was ahead and was making some steps for us to make it easier. The second in the line guy slipped after some steps and slid down 100 – 150 feet before hitting and rolling over a bunch of rocks. I still remember the slide he took, a fellow hiker shouting at him to brake and his roll on the rocks. The guy who was in the front soon took a slide down with his ice axe and went to help him. It was very brave and selfless of him. The organizer called it for the day and we turned back. The whole incident hit me after some time and I was glad that everyone was safe.

Activity Overview

 

Nikhil Navali

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Polar Express? Na, Ford Escape to Leavenworth

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Every year, around the time of Christmas, Leavenworth hosts tree lighting festival. We delayed our visit to make sure we attend the same in the snow and decided to visit on Dec 19. Fortunately, weather forecast predicted snow on 19th. I chose to take the scenic Highway 2 and WSDOT recommended snow chains/AWD for the drive. After my recent snow driving experience at Yosemite where I drove with snow chains, this time I wanted to try an all wheel drive and I made sure to book it before hand. It was a Ford Escape which provided us fun, exciting and a safe ride.

I, along with 4 other Cornell/Amazon friends, started at around 10.30 AM. After having brunch at Bothell Gurudwara we hit Highway 2 to begin our scenic ride. We were soon spellbound by the snow covered tall mountains along the route. Even though I had been on a snow drive just last month at Yosemite, I was equally mesmerized to see the snow covered mountains and trees. We decided to take a short break at a town to enjoy the scenery around us. We walked to the bridge which stood on a greenish river and wondered about the setting of the town amidst such beauty. After some time we started the drive again.

I drove on the streets of the town to get back to the highway but something scary happened here which helped me drive safely throughout the trip. Unaware of the capacity of traction I was negotiating a turn at quite a speed. This is when I lost control on steering. The car skid to the right and then to the left before getting under control again. Fortunately there were no other cars on the road and it wasn’t a major skid; it however taught me a lesson. After that I drove on the snow with utmost caution. The next 20-30 miles were hilly and covered with heavy snow. I drove carefully, mimicking other vehicles. Other vehicles either had snow chains or were AWDs or driving extremely slowly. Some vehicles zoomed past us and we wondered how were they able to pull it off. Although quite apprehensive at first, I found the drive exciting.  We saw people skiing at Steven’s Pass and the mountain looked quite steep. Every driven mile increased my confidence and I was able to pick up speed and pass other vehicles. During single lane, a slower car would usually delay number of vehicles behind it which in a way was good by keeping everyone’s speed at check.

It was around 2:30 PM, by the time we reached Leavenworth and fortunately we found a parking spot at P4, right across the front street where the tree lighting was supposed to happen. There was snow all around and it was quite cold. Ithaca had taught me well to dress for cold and I was well prepared with layered clothing, cap, gloves, woolen socks and snow shoes. It was a very lively and fascinating atmosphere. The town itself was nestled between the tall snow covered mountains. The streets were lined with Bavarian styled shops and restaurants. There was snow all around and families were having fun time with kids sliding on board from higher areas. Christmas, a family festival was so evident here. Some people had dressed in costumes like angels and Santa. While my friends chose to go to a restaurant, I took stroll admiring the happenings and the architecture. I entered a shop called Kris Kringl which had numerous Christmas decoration items which looked shiny and cute. I liked the snowbabies the most.

After roaming for a while, I went to a nearby waterfront park along with a friend. It was a downhill to the river and people(adults) were sliding and it was fun watching them. There was a broken plastic slide laying around and I slid cheerfully and ended up breaking it into more pieces. I enjoyed being in the fresh snow and somehow felt being home. During my visit to California, i thought it was nice to have sunny weather but realized I like variations. After spending some time along the river admiring golden lights on houses we decided to go back to the front street. We choose to take shortcut instead and ended up climbing a 70-80 deg elevation which reminded me of final ascent in the Himalayas at Rupin Pass. It was around 4:30 PM and we unknowingly had made it to the front street just before tree lighting where everyone were eagerly waiting for the lights. There was a big Christmas tree with lights and decorations around it. After a countdown, first shops and restaurants were lit and then number of other trees. Apparently there were half a million lights, but it didn’t seem so. With the snow covered mountains in the background, lights all around and smiles on people, the town looked amazing. We entered a candy shop and had a delicious hot chocolate fudge. For the first time I was happy that it was dark so soon as we could see the lights and leave for Seattle soon.

My friends decided to take I-90 instead for the drive back. We took Highway 97 first and then hit I-90. There was even more snow on road and heavy snow fall to make things more exciting. I could see the heavy snow bombarding on the windshield which reduced the visibility to say 50-100 mts. We saw number of accidents on I-90 and the recommended speed was 35 mph. Steering wheel was literally shaking under my hands. We could see some cars skidding and going slowly. Holding our breath we covered the distance carefully and quite swiftly. It was one of the most interesting and exciting drives I have had. After driving a Mini Cooper previous week, I found the Ford Escape much more comfortable. With each mile I drove westwards, we felt a gradual rise in temperature from the initial -1C. There was no snow a few miles from Bellevue. We had dinner at Kanishka Cuisine and headed back to Seattle.

My experiences reminded me of the movie Polar Express and I had really loved it (By the way I wrote this post while watching it).

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Rann of Kachchh – Unlimited Experiences

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While planning for Gujarat trip, I can’t exactly recollect how I stumbled on Rann of Kutch, but I am glad I did, for I had one of the most eventful time. The trip made me richer in experiences as I travelled using more than 8 ways of transport, saw stunningly amazing things, and felt scared to death, all in a matter of just 3 days. Here is the whole experience.

Day 1:

I set to Ahmedabad, Gujarat in Duronto express after having a joyous time with cousins in Mumbai. I was a frugal traveler for next 3 days. Took few water bottles from the train. I freshened up at Ahmedabad Railway Station and boarded a bus to Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar. I liked the ubiquitous shared and affordable auto services in Ahmedabad which is very much unlike Bangalore.

I feel Akshardham temple in Gandhingar is small compared to the one in Delhi which made it less exciting for me. I missed the main highlight – the water show, due to my schedule. Rains thwarted my moments around the temple and after futile efforts to watch the movie shows (due to lack of change in my wallet), I left the temple to reach Dholavira, Kachchh which was around 300kms away as soon as possible. I guess I zeroed on this place after reading a blog, on the maps too this place looks exciting. Situated in an island amidst the Kachchh desert with a 5000 year old history is quite a place to be missed. Map readingAlong with the destination’s name, I had only an Android phone with 2g internet connection. My plan was to go west on the highway number 947, take a diversion at Samyakhali to north and then again west to Dholavira from Balasar via Rapar. I was open to any mode of transport and was bent on reaching Dholavira by nightfall either by hook or crook. I went to Sarkhej near Ahmedabad which falls on Highway 947 from Pathika bus stand, Gandhinagar. There I got onto an AC seater/sleeper bus. This was the first bus I travelled which had an attached lavatory. I was constantly checking my progress in the maps. Lying on the upper sleeper bed I eyed the salt producing areas parallel to the highway. This place is the largest producer of salt in the world. As the water from seas flows inland during monsoons the salt-makers barricade the water, leading to evaporation to leave behind the salt. I reached Samakhiyali by around 5 PM. The last bus for Dholavira had left at 4 PM, so I had no direct access. A person going to Rapar by car gave me a lift until Rapar. It was around 7 PM by the time I reached Rapar and after futile attempts to get a mode of transport further, I decided to stay in Rapar for the night. I shared an AC/TV room with a fellow traveler in a very shabby guest house.

Day 2:

I was ready by 7 AM  to catch a vehicle. Though there was a bus at 9 AM to Dholavira, I didn’t want to wait that long. After waiting for an hour or so, I got onto a Maxi cab to Balasar. Squeezed between a person and the door, listening to the conversations of locals, I waited to reach the place. I alighted at Balasar and sadly had to wait here for hours to catch the same bus which was supposed to leave Rapar at 9. I was enjoying the fact of Gujarat being the Dry state, the smell was non-existent. But, most of them chewed tobacco which had reddened their mouth.  I saw these amazing rickshaws called Chaggada all over Gujarat which had Royal Enfield engine attached to a wheel in the front and had a two wheeled spacious carriage attached behind. After spending some time speaking to the locals there, I saw a BSF vehicle. The acronym BSF has been special to me since 11 years. When I was in Navodaya, my Social Studies sir was conducting a quiz in the class. When it came to our group, Sir remarked “Nikhil is in this group, let’s give something difficult to them”. Then he asked us to expand BSF. My friend and I contemplated for a while and came up with “Border Security Force” and to our surprise, we were right. I have always been fond of army, and hence went to the vehicle hoping to get onto it. Fortunately, the person in command was a Kannadiga and he agreed me to drop for some distance just because I wanted a ride in that vehicle. He explained me something about the companies and battalions stationed there to guard the border. He was a constable and was in service since 19 years. I was glad to start my “Art of Appreciation” post (I will keep updating it from time to time, appreciating the people who have made a positive impact on me). Here is the link: https://nixieslife.wordpress.com/art-of-appreciation/. He dropped me at a bus stop near Lodrani, where I got into a luxury bus (Just a name for private bus in these areas) to Dholavira. I immediately asked the conductor if I could go sit on top and fortunately he agreed. BusThis part was the best mode of travel in my entire trip. Sitting on top of a slow bus with locals in the Kachchh having a 3600 view was more than what I asked for. I was wearing a dark green Cargo pants with pockets. But I think, looking at my fitness, people were asking me what Battalion I was in. 😀 I sadly had to tell them that I am not using my structure to protect the borders, but had only come to visit it. We encountered numerous birds and a snake on the road during the journey. But something more beautiful awaited me as the bus was going to cross the greater Rann of Kachchh to reach Khadir Bet(Island). The Great Rann of Kutch is a seasonal salt marsh located in the Thar Desert in the Kutch District of Gujarat, India and the Sindh province of Pakistan. It is about 7,505.22 square kilometres in size and is reputed to be the largest salt desert in the world. It’s so huge, Olympics can be hosted for entire universe. It is rightly considered to be one of the wonders of India. It was a migratory season and I gazed at numerous birds in the lake. It was a visual treat to see them fly in unison when someone shooed. There was a vast expanse of water as the rainy season had just ended. During the dry seasons there would be barren land stretching till the farthest point in the horizon. The place looks best during full moon during summer. Sitting on top of the bus with this amazing gift nature gave me, I was more than happy to have decided to make the trip. This ride was no less than a safari to me. This was indeed a luxury bus for me. After making numerous stops at different villages, I finally reached Dholavira. The last few meters were fun as I had to lie flat to avoid getting hurt by the bushes. A person on bike and then some distance on tractor helped me reach the Toran Guest house. So totally I took these many modes of transport to reach the guest house.

From Gandhinagar to Dholavira: Backpacking

  1. Government Bus to Sarkhej (20 Rs)
  2. AC bus till Samyakhali (200 Rs)
  3. Car till Rapar (40 Rs)
  4. Maxi Cab till Balasar (20 Rs)
  5. BSF vehicle till Lodrani(free lift)
  6. Luxury Bus, top seat till Dholavira(30 Rs)
  7. Bike (free lift)
  8. Tractor (free lift)

I checked, had lunch and set to go see the excavated region of Indus Valley Civilization. Dholavira, is an archaeological site is one of the five largest Harappan sitesand most prominent archaeological sites in India belonging to the Indus Valley Civilization. It is also considered as grandest of cities of its time. The site was occupied from c.2650 BCE, declining slowly after about 2100 BCE. It was briefly abandoned and reoccupied until c.1450 BCE. I went to the Archaeological Museum first and saw numerous excavated items on display which ranged from contemporary pottery to seals. After this, I went to the site and was spell bounded by the beauty and intricacy of the structures, reservoirs, etc. It was intriguing to know that people 5000 years ago built such perfect monuments for themselves and used state of the art interconnected water storage system. My favorites were the reservoirs present around the main palace which were connected to each other by underground channels. I took quite some time to explore the whole place in the hot afternoon sun.

I had read on a blog about a temple nearby at the edge of the Rann. It was around 12 kms away and asked the curator if he could arrange a vehicle for me to go till there. I kept asking him for some time while a person there explained me why the region was called Kachchh, this area(Kachchh district) when inverted looks like a tortoise – Kachchh (Kachua in Hindi). By then a person there arranged a bike for me. Two teenage guys came to escort me to the Fossil Park and temple. The three of us started the rough journey on muddy road managing to stay without bruising ourselves on the bike. We first went to Fossil park near the lake which had dead trees whose estimated age is 18 crore years (Jurassic era). They might have fed the Dinosaurs in their heyday. The view from there too was breathtaking. The shore had large brown water washed stones having a wavy pattern. The Sun played hide-and-seek with the clouds and birds were enjoying their share of calmness in the lake. Going in the lake is not advisable as the slushy mud as good as quicksand when it comes to consuming anything that steps on it. I saw a high point on the hill and wanted to experience the beauty from the top. I asked the guys to wait for 15 minutes and managed to climb and enjoy the scenery lit with crimson rays of the evening sun. This was followed by the trip to the temple. Few months ago I was around 40 kms from China border in Himalayas and here in Desert I was 40 kms from Pakistan Border. I just love these stats. 🙂

We turned to leave after some time only to find the rear tyre deflated. One of the guys told he would go to nearby place to get it filled. The other guy and I talked about the local life as we walked. I was startled to hear that guys there get married by the age of 19. He proudly said that he had rejected a matrimonial alliance. I don’t really know if he was lucky or not. The other guy came back with the bike but with sad news. He said that the tube had burst but they asked me to move on deceased bike to make me comfortable. As I didn’t want to add extra weight I decided to walk till the guest house which was roughly 10 kilometers away. I was more than confident that I would make it. The guys warned me of potential danger from animals but I it didn’t deter me. Everything changed after I saw the last rays of light from the bike. ScaredThe sparse jungle got darker and the sounds got weirder. I had nothing in my defense except a small rechargeable torch. I took short sprints sometimes to cover ground faster. I got an adrenaline rush every time I heard a sound. The only sources of my inspiration were the crescent moon and Pole star. I walked holding heart in my hand. I heard a few dogs barking and then a couple of cyclists came my way. On asking, they assured me that the path was safe. Then I saw a lighted electric pole which made me assume that a vehicle was approaching me. In reality, sparks were coming from the pole to frighten me more. After around 100 minutes of the scariest walk of my life, I found the lights of the village and was more than happy to make it to civilization alive. I was the lone guest in that guest house that night. What a day I had!!!!! This day surely goes into the list of one of the most exciting days of my life. The room was more of a cottage with roof made of straw and I found a variety of insects and reptiles to give company. A wildlife-loving person would have been happy to spend his time here.

Day 3:

I had to meet my parents on the way to Mt. Abu, but due to one miscalculation I had very rough time in getting there. I got up at 4.30 AM to catch a 5 AM government bus to Rapar. As soon as I stepped out of the guest house, I was welcomed with a blanket of stars. It looked splendid. I boarded the bus and asked if I could go on top of the bus to enjoy the Rann, but sadly he turned down my request. I realized how fortunate I was to miss the bus at Samyakahli the previous day. I wouldn’t have had such an exciting time. I missed a road connecting Balasar and  Santalpur(closer to Mt Abu), hence went all the way to Rapar. From there I went in a jeep to Adesar. A 35 kilometer ride took around 80 minutes. I then boarded a passenger train to Palanpur, which was followed by a bus to Mt Abu. I was supposed to reach Mt Abu by 3 PM with parents, but the one mistake I made cost me four hours more. The punishment I faced was missing the trip to the Dilwara temples. A person was collecting tax for tourists on entering Mt Abu. He dint ask me may be due to my worn out face or due to my desi attire which made me look like a localite. When I looked myself in the mirror in Maganji’s hotel my face looked as dead as those fossil trees I saw the day before. I instantly decided that I would take more care of myself during next trips.

Until before a few days, I was unaware of the fact that something like Rann existed. Now I am almost as knowledgeable as a guide. The locals were really very helpful all along the way and nobody tried to cheat me. My main tip to the readers is to travel young so that you don’t miss out the simple fun like sitting on top of the bus or riding on a bike with two others. I will cherish this trip for my entire life.

Tips:

  • There are lots of private transports available to ferry from place to place and they are safe.
  • Buses to Dholavira are rare, the last bus from highway 8A (Samyakhali) leaves from 4 PM and from Dholavira last bus out is at 12.30 PM.
  • There is something called Rann Festival which happens every December. That’s a good time to go if you don’t mind the crowd. December is still a migratory season, so you can find lots of birds.
  • I got the guts to go there all alone, only after reading a blog by someone. So please share details of your visit so that others too can experience it.

Nikhil Navali

Categories: Adventure, Others, Travel | Tags: , , | 7 Comments

Straight Edgers in Goa

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Straight edge is a subculture whose adherents refrain from using alcohol, tobacco, and other recreational drugs.”

I have been to Goa quite a few times earlier. But this time I finally understood why people fancied going there. Beaches, Churches and nightlife are the main highlights of the place. Though we weren’t ever able to reach a consensus, I had been planning for the Goa trip with my office friends since quite some time. Finally, I pitched in the dates of Oct 5th, 6th and 7th as a part of my 10 day trip covering Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan. Three of them finally agreed and we did planned a little for the trip in the week (which eventually proved futile). I usually have a habit of exploring the place in maps and hence did my homework this time too. Goa is perceived as a combination of the happening North beaches and the calm serene beaches in the South. To add a dimension to the trip, I intended to add trekking and visiting the temples in east in the to-do list (out of which trekking sadly had to be dropped).

I had a nice chat with a colleague in the bus to Majestic on the evening of 4th October and met my friends at AnandRao Circle, Bangalore from where we commenced our journey. The conductor of the VRL bus we boarded was planning to play the movie “Son of Sardar”. We convinced him to play Aashiqui 2 instead (which happened to be the best movie in the lot). Our initial plan was to stay in South Goa, but a conversation with a Goan on the bus changed our choice to Calanghute. I enjoyed the bliss of sleep for barely four hours in a thirteen hour journey.

TreeAs we neared Ankola, I sat in the cabin to enjoy the coastal view from the front seat. The ride was eventful watching the mountains play hide and seek. It was raining in Goa and I just realized the possible disaster we would have faced if we had chosen South Goa as our temporary residence. On reaching Panjim by 9.30, we rented an Activa and a Wego and set for Calanghute with a hope of finding an affordable stay near the beach. The rains put a damper on the sports activities my friends’ had in mind. On asking a person for cheaper alternatives than to stay at Calanghute residency he directed us to his guest house nearby.

The guest house had an open terrace with one room and a 2 roomed house around it. Rooms had A/C and were decent enough for stay. Both had balconies open to swimming pools which made Chaitanya crave to jump into the water and relax. As it was off season, the owner agreed for Rs800 per day per room. We had brunch and went to beach to face the waters. It was an intermittent play in the beach as the rains played hide and seek. RainIt was fun nevertheless. Then we went to a hilly Aguada fort. The level of excitement I had was comparatively less as I had been to all the places before. The only change this time was the fact that I was with my friends riding on a 2 wheeler navigating through the narrow roads of Goa. Aguada fort has a beautiful, calm shoreline to adore it. We just sat there and allowed the natural beauty to sooth us. Our next stop was the Sinquerium beach which more or less had same view but with lower altitude. There we saw a trial run of para-sailing which raised my friends’ spirits. But the joy was short lived as we encountered rains on the way back to our rooms.

As we had no plans for the evening, I started to search online for nightlife nearby. I browsed through casinos, parties and finally decided to go to Cape Town Café to enquire about the DJ party. This is when I found Tito’s lane, something I never knew existed in Goa. I was taken aback by the Non-Desi colourful hotels, cafes and clubs. The tiled path heightened the liveliness of the ambience. Without second thoughts, I called my friends and decided to go to Cape Town Café’s DJ night after dinner. To kill time, we went for a walk on Baga beach. Even at night this beach had many visitors, although hardly any in the water. There were line of shacks on the shoreline serving food, drinks and hookah. This is when I realised why Goa is so sought for a vacation. As a bunch of non-drinkers we passed all these to just enjoy the beach in the night. Post this, it was party time. After making rounds to the rooms due to improper dress code, we finally entered the DJ night at around 11.30 PM. Disco DanceDeloitte parties had made us used to such places and we danced to the trance enjoying the crowd. My friends called it a day and went back to rooms but I stayed back. I saw people grooving to the music rising from bass speakers, passionate couples lost in their own small world, and a few dancing right in front of DJ. It was exciting dancing in such an environment. As my friends had taken the vehicles I had to walk to the room. By now almost all the places in the lane had similar atmosphere. It was 2.30 AM and crowd hadn’t had enough. The crowd got thinner and was virtually inexistent by the time I reached the room.

I woke up to a sunny morning the next day and went to beach to enjoy the waters shimmering under the sun. People there were enjoying the force of waves and it seemed similar to the way the people grooved to the beats the previous night. The people at the beach waited eagerly for each coming wave to hit them. I realised that I belong to this group of adventurists more than the night-clubbers. After playing to my heart’s content I left with friends for Baga beach for sports activities. On the way we passed by the deserted Tito’s lane which had a stark different atmosphere than what I had seen the night before. As my friends went for para-sailing I took a stroll on the beach. On seeing the “Bumper Ride” I badly wanted to try it. The organiser wasn’t ready to put it to action due to rough seas. After around 30 mins of asking and convincing he finally unleashed it. It essentially was a two-seater tube where the one end of the rope was tied to a motor boat to drag it in the wavy seas. The ride was very exciting, we had a nice bum massage. At Tito’s lane, I got inked with a temporary custom-made “Om” tattoo. I thought it would be best suited as I intended to visit the temples the following morning and in Gujarat later. After this, we spent some lazy time on beach playing catch-me-if-you-can. Chaitanya kept slipping and fell in the water. I had read about enjoying the sunset from the top of Chapora fort near Vagator beach and thus we hurried on our two wheelers to reach there. Unfortunately, clouds had hidden the sun but had left us with a splendid view from the top of the fort. We could see beach with black soil in the left, a small mountain extending to the sea in the front and a river joining the sea on the right. We retired for the day after few relaxing moments at Baga and Calanghute beaches in the evening.

I really wanted to visit the temples in Goa during Navaratri for a personal reason and set to Ponda on a two wheeler again on the following day. The sunny ride from Panjim to Old Goa was right alongside the course of a river on a smooth narrow road. It was an exciting ride. The route near Ponda was hair-raising too, with twisted roads going downhill midst the greenery. We visited Mangeshi temple which had explicit mentioning of few rules for prohibition in the temple. Then it was Mahalasa temple which prohibited the foreign visitors and we saw a board in Shantadurga temple which said “No entry visitors, please use the main gate”. This progression of prohibition amused me. I liked the secluded Nagesh temple the most where I saw a snake, fishes, duck in the pond infront of the temple. We visited at these temples during 12 to 1 PM during which the Mangalarthi took place. Mahalasa temple had a big “deepa” tower which I wished to see it lit in the night and there was sari auctioning going on. After the visit of Shantadurga temple, the last one for the day, I found my Activa’s deflated rear tube. I don’t know what it signified but lost time I lost in fixing the puncture could have been used to visit the churches in Old Goa.

I had a train to Mumbai at 3.45 from Madgoan and was in Panjim at 2.45. I was thinking of taking a pilot to reach the station in time, but the locals advised me to go to the next station which was much closer to Panjim instead. This gave me ample time to travel. I happily took that advice and marched to Karmali station. I was taken aback with the facilities present in such a small station. Drinking water, a waiting room with switches labelled for fan/light, washrooms, a garden and clean floor. I got into the train and slept as I really needed some rest. I had to alight the train at Dadar, but overslept and reached CST. As my dad commented I boarded from different station and alighted at different station unplanned. From here the next chapter of the trip started which is documented in the blog in a different post : Rann of Kachchh.

So this was the itinerary for my Goa trip:

Day 1:

Beaches in North Goa(Calanghute, Baga, Sinquerium)

Aguada fort in the evening.

Tito’s lane in the night.

Day 2:

Sports activities at Baga beach.

Chapora Fort near Vagator beach for the sunset.

(Anjuna beach can be included.)

Day 3:

Temples near Ponda.

But I would recommend visting churches in Old Goa, going for a trek at Tamblisurla and temples by evening.

Nikhil Navali

Categories: Others, Travel | Tags: , | 3 Comments

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