All posts filed under: Travelogues

Cycling to office India

My one year of cycle to work in Mumbai

  Cycle to work was a long-cherished dream popping time and again to see the sky. In February 2017, I got my childhood crush back in my life. Purchased a used cycle from OLX and rode 30km the first day after 12 years. It was a pleasure for my thighs: D I parked my cycle near Andheri railway station inside a closed pay and park. Got the monthly parking charges negotiated Rs.550. My office is opposite Infiniti mall on New Link road. So the route was going to be Andheri station to Infiniti Mall. Total distance of one way was not more than 5 Km max. First Day of Cycle to Office On the day one, I got the cycle repaired a bit. Height of the seat was low and it was painful for my knees. It took me a week to find 15-inch seat rod. Rest of the thing was just okay. First week was tiring. I was not used to too much Stop and Go. Traffic and metro construction has practically made half the road unusable. When I …

Along the Kosi River on Bike : 1 – Beginning

  This is the first post of my Kosi river trip. I toured the entire length of Kosi river in India under my Anaadi River Project. Let me introduce you one of the oldest rivers of the Indian subcontinent. Kosi River – An Introduction Kosi river is quite ancient you can say older than the Himalayas. She takes birth on the higher altitude of the Himalayas in Nepal and then rolls through the lower hills of Nepal before entering India in Bhimnagar. From Bhimnagar she flows through Supaul and Saharsa district eventually meeting Ganga near Kursela in Bhagalpur district. She is called Sapta Kosi in Nepal due to seven tributaries she has in Nepal. Kosi is titled as sorrow of Bihar, dayan (witch) and sometimes mother by the people of Bihar. People living along the bank of Kosi river do not stop cursing her as soon as heavy monsoon begins making her swell her banks. Whatever people name her, but for me, Kosi is very very special. Not because I am from Bihar and she flows …

Beautiful Chena village nestled in Ghodbunder hills

I live in Bhayandar near the hills of Ghodbunder. I know both the names sound weird. Bhayandar, a western suburb lies on the southern bank of Ulhas river or rather Vasai creek. Starting from Bhayandar if we keep on going upstream on the river Ghodbunder falls next. Geographically this region is in continuity with the Borivali National park and spans  18km straight from Powai in the South to Ghodbunder in the North. This region has kept hidden many picturesque lakes and streams which are often overlooked by the local populace that includes me as well 😛 Yes, its a fact that we often tend to ramble far and wide in search of beauty and happiness. But at times we just miss the wonderful and tranquil nature which lies very next to us right in our backyard. As a matter of luck, I had to visit Chena village to attend a spiritual event. Chena village is just around the corner of Chena bridge on the Mumbai Nashik highway. The small village has a beautiful river flowing by …

Vashishti River : 1 – Planning and Mumbai to Chiplun

I am excited to publish this blog as this is the very beginning of my अनादी River Project. This project is my attempt to get a first-hand understanding of the condition of rivers, lakes and wells of Bharat. You can read more about the अनादी River Project here.   To begin with the project and try myself and my readiness Vashishti was a trial. Why did I select Vashishti ? In the river project, I desired to know what sort of groundwork is essential for large rivers. When I was exploring this topic, I came across ‘Sandrp’ website. It had a comprehensive research on the rivers of Konkan. Vashishti was one of the rivers in the list. In fact, Vashishti was the most polluted among other rivers of Konkan. The foremost reason of pollution was letting out the untreated water by chemical factories in the Lote-Parshuram MIDC setup. The level of organo-chlorides was so high that even bathing in the river was severely hazardous and may lead to cancer. This created a curiosity in me and I wished to witness …

Vashishti River : 3 – Closing words and visit to Goa killa in Harnai

This is the third and last post of the Vashishti river tour. Day 1 – Mumbai to Chiplun and Day 2 – Along the Vashishti River were splendid. If you haven’t been through follow the link and have a look at them.   Since my primary objective of the trip i.e. touring the Vashishti from source to the confluence was achieved, all I had to today was the homecoming. But it wasn’t going to be plain and straight. I left the town of Dapoli early morning and rode to Fort Goa or Suvarnadurga Fort followed by Mandangad, Mangaon and finally Mumbai. 26  June 2017 – Day 3 Left the hotel early morning. It was raining like hell. Konkan rains are quite heavy. Huge perpendicular raindrop is what you get 🙂 Following the coastal route reached Goa Fort near Harnai beach. Goa fort along with Suvarnadurga fort and Fattegad fort had a significant place in Chhatrapati Shivaji’s naval force. As marked in the image below, Suvarnadurga Fort is at some distance in the sea quite visible from …

Vashishti River : 2- Riding along the river from source to Arabian sea

Yesterday’s ride through the beautiful green ghats of Konkan was refreshing particularly the Kashedi and Khed stretch. Today was the day to travel by the Vashishti river. The plan was to reach as close to the source of Vashishti River and ride along the river until I reach its Sangam with Arabian sea. Hoping the same excitement and adventure we rolled off for the day. 25th July 2017 Chiplun, Maharashtra Chillax Morning 🙂 Missed the morning alarm of 5.30 am. Before we could get the things up it was 7 am. 50% of the total time was spent in doing Datun. Vishwanath and I chewed the neem daatun as slow and leisurely as we can. Standing on the small balcony facing the hotel garden and shamelessly posing topless we chewed like a King. We had all the time in the world, no morning alarms, no to-do list, no client calls. We were just lost in daatun. We moved the neem twig slowly and gently through every corner of the teeth. Dark and dirty places untouched …

Anaadi River project logo

Introduction to अनादी (Anaadi) River project

From the start of 2017, I have been working on a personal project associated with rivers. I have named it अनादी (Anaadi) which means eternal. In this post, I will be talking of the what, why and how of the project. Need more than wanderlust Wanderlust was a pleasant word for me during the early stages of my traveling. I did all was visit a green place or white mountain, capture some snaps and tag wanderlust on it. It absolutely was fun and excitement. However, once days passed all I had was memories and nothing else. It is good to have memories as they take us to the places later in our lives and make us smile. It was certainly good, but not enough. Later on, when I questioned myself that did I definitely liked traveling?  I got an affirmative answer. I liked traveling but so did Neanderthals. In fact, they wandered with purpose but what about me? I had a deep feeling of bringing in some purpose. At the end, I wished to make …

North India bike trip -2: Shimla and Narkanda

This is the second post from the North India Bike Trip travelogue. Read the first North India bike trip 1 – Murphy’s law in action. To summarize the first day, after missing my flight, I had to purchase the overpriced ticket to Delhi. Later, my rented bike came out faulty. It took extra hours and tons of patience to reach Shimla.         Delhi to Shimla Roads from Delhi to Shimla was in a perfect condition. You can literally cruise once you are out of Delhi’s traffic. Reached Chandigarh around 11 AM with breaks. Took right from Chandigarh for Shimla. On the way, I encountered unexpected rain resulting in wet clothes and luggage. As I moved up the mountain, wet socks became irritating under cold winds. Stopped next to a bus stop, removed wet socks, put on a dry one, wrapped legs with garbage bins and tied with zip ties and wore the wet shoes back. Garbage bins secured my dry socks with wet shoes. I was good to go 🙂 With increase …

North India Bike Ride Travelogue

North India bike trip – 1: Murphy’s law in action

This was supposed to be the dream trip. Every detail was planned. But what fun it is when things goes as you expected. Life becomes spicy when we experience bad luck and failures. This is because then we have the chance to bring out something from inside and make the things correct again. This is where satisfaction comes in.A few bad chapters doesn’t mean your story is overInitially it was a solo trip to Spiti. Though it would be winter in Spiti and rarely people travel there due to rough condit

Strolling around Mumbai on Cycle – Tips and Experiences

Bicycles have been one of my best childhood memories. My first love, a gearless Hercules AXN. How could I sleep that night? That night ended waiting for tomorrow’s light. We were together for 4 years before it was stolen. Tried luck second time with second-hand Ranger Swing, unfortunately, that too remained for a couple of months before getting stolen. Now, after 12 years I have the pedal back. Yes, a long wait indeed 🙂 The excitement was same as it was on the first day with my first cycle. I take it to my office daily riding 4.5 km one way on the chaotic Mumbai roads. Can’t express the joy of getting on the seat and feeling the breeze. After trying my hands for one month, felt like I should take it for a tour around Mumbai. So friends, take your popcorns sit back and enjoy the post. And yes, do not forget to comment. You don’t know how much your two words make me feel. Preparation Frankly speaking, I had no clue of the kind of …

North India Bike trip – 3: Golden Temple and Attari Wagah border

This is the third post of North India bike trip. Here is the first and second post. My time in the mountains was over and I had to reach Amritsar by today evening. Packed up and left Shimla in the morning. With no traffic, Shimla to Chandigarh was a fast ride. Took the following route for Amritsar. Shimla -> Chandigarh -> Rupnagar -> Phagwara -> Jalandhar -> Amritsar. A major portion of the route was two lanes divider-less highway. With lots of towns and cities coming in, it burnt a good amount of time.         Ulte haath se mood jao I remember a nice man directing the route to the highway in Chandigarh. Standing at a junction, I asked him ‘Bhaiyya Amritsar jana hai, kaunsa rasta jaayega?’’ He said ‘Yaha se sidha jao, phir ulte haath ghum jana. Aage jaakar phir se ulte haath ghum jaana. Chauda rastaa aayega waha se phir ulte haath ghumna hai. Thoda sidha jaakar ulte haath par highway aa jaayega’ I was shaking my head vigorously at every …

North India Bike Trip – 5: Mathura Vrindavan

It was a beautiful morning. Air in Agra had a different smell. I decided to leave Agra as early as possible. If I could do so, I would have enough time to roam around Mathura, Vrindavan and reach Delhi before the Sun sets.         Ulte haath se mood jao Agra to Mathura Took the national highway NH19 instead of Yamuna Expressway. National highway was really in a bad shape throughout the route. Moving consistently without break reached Mathura around 10 AM.  Paid visit to the Baba Jai Gurudev Temple located right on the highway. Left the bike and luggage with the shoe keeper and went inside the temple. The temple has glittering white marble all around and is a sheer beauty. Prayed and meditated, took blessings and left for Vrindavan. The long narrow road which leads to Banke Bihariji temple is lined with a number of temples and ashrams. The road gets choked due to traffic. Left the bike and luggage trusting a paan Wala. Paid him Rs. 100 to trust me 🙂 …

North India Bike trip – 4 : Taj Mahal via Yamuna expressway

Back on the saddle left Kurukshetra early morning. Read previous posts of this series Delhi to Shimla, Shimla Narkanda, and Amritsar post. Ride till Delhi was super smooth and zero traffic. Delhi to Agra on a bike can be made with Yamuna Expressway or the old national highway.         I took the Greater Noida Highway and entered the Yamuna Expressway. It was going to be a hard afternoon ride on the concrete. I wished if I had Superbike here. 100 kmph seemed nothing. Do’s and Dont’s for bikers on Yamuna Expressway 1. Yamuna Expressway or Taj Expressway is access controlled like other expressways. It is fenced throughout the distance. One cannot enter or exit anywhere in the middle. 2. Are bikes allowed on Yamuna expressway?  Yes, bikes are allowed on Expressway. 3. The road is six lane and has concrete throughout the route. 4. The toll for bikes on Taj Expressway from Delhi to Agra was Rs. 150 in 2016. 5. Is the Expressway safe for bikes? Absolutely, if someone follows the traffic rules. With …

Weekend Bike trip to Dahanu & Bordi beach: Day 2/2

The night was unexpectedly cold. Yesterday’s ride from Mumbai to Bordi was not much tiring. Woke up at 5:30 AM and left for Bordi beach to watch the Sunrise. Bordi beach was almost deserted except for some fishermen and joggers. You can take your motorcycle or 4 wheeler on the beach. It’s wide enough to practice drifting 🙂 The morning was spectacular.   Bordi Beach: Spent an hour practicing photography. I was silly enough to forget my camera battery in the room though managed with Vishwanath’s camera battery. Spotted a Neem tree on the shore. Used twigs for cleaning the dental. It felt so nice to sit under the open sky in front of the blue ocean on the white sand and moving the twigs swiftly round and round in the mouth. My heart whispered this is the moment you keep looking for. And it happens, we go a long distance in search of something. And ultimately spot the happiness in some tiny moment. I feel this is what the moment of life is. The …

sigma lens review

Weekend Bike trip to Dahanu and Bordi beach: Day 1/2

Dahanu and Bordi beach are popular weekend getaways for Mumbai folks. The place remains less crowded compared to other tourist spots like Lonavala, Alibaug and Matheran. And therefore, it becomes an ideal place for people seeking a peaceful, quiet and beautiful place Mumbai to Dahanu Beach: It was around 12 PM on Saturday that Vishwanath and I decided to leave for Bordi beach. Packed bare minimum and left Mumbai at around 3 PM. The distance between Mumbai to Bordi beach is no more than 160KM. That means around 2.5 hours of a bike ride. NH 8 was excellent throughout. Took left from National Highway towards Dahanu. The road from Highway to Dahanu beach is just awesome. The unexpected cold wind on this road made us feel the winter. Wide road with invisible traffic and big trees on both sides of the road made the ride pleasant and engaging.   An evening at Dahanu beach: Reached Dahanu beach around 6 PM in the evening. Sun was half into the ocean gleaming dark red over the horizon. The beach …

Vasai Fort – A living remnant

Situated in the coastal part of Vasai town, the huge walls of Vasai Fort, also known as Bassein Fort certainly shows the test of time it has stood. The Fort overlooks the Vasai creek and had several watch towers. Although there is nothing more than the ruins of huge entrance and arches left, still the place has a unique charm. The inner room probably the biggest one is used as a nice underarm cricket playground. Other locations are very creatively used by wedding photographers. The fort is protected under the ASI. Ride to the Vasai Fort: It was the 21st February 2016 when Rajkumar and I decided to spice up a lazy Sunday afternoon. The distance of Vasai Fort from my house was no more than 30 KM. Hence, it was possible to have a quick bike trip. Left Bhayandar around 2:30 PM and rode straight to Tungareshwar temple. Tungareshwar temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is situated on a hill in the interior of the Vasai village. Spent an hour and left for …

Bike trip to Invincible Maratha fort : Kille Raigad : 2

Waking up in Sahyadri has always been memorable for me. Fresh smell of air the and chirping birds set a positive environment. It was 7 AM now. Day 1 – Mumbai to Raigad Fort on bike As planned yesterday, if we find a small waiting queue, we will tour the Fort again via Ropeway. Took our bikes and rode to the base village Hirkanewadi. Got to know that it will take one and half hour waiting. Said No to the Fort plan and instead of going up, went down the village. Little did we know that a different world was waiting down the village. Greenery everywhere and crystal clear water flowing down the terraced farm plots. Sometimes beautiful places are hidden a few steps away. I don’t mind going few steps ahead 🙂 That is the reason I love to explore the untouristy places. I believe, it is the odd places where we seek solitude. Returned from the village and began morning routines. Packed the stuff and we were ready to leave for Mumbai. Before …

bike trip to Raigad Fort

Bike trip to the invincible Maratha killa : Raigad Fort : 1

Raigad is a beautiful hill fort some 180 Kms from Mumbai. This is the same fort where Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the founder of the Maratha Empire was coronated in 1674 and he declared Raigad as his Capital. This was the inspiration behind the trip. We (me and Sudhanshu) made out the trip during monsoon in the month of August 2015. Mumbai to Raigad Fort: As decided, we met him near Oberoi Mall flyover and rode towards Navi Mumbai via Santacruz-Chembur Link Road (SCLR). Later, took Pali Khopoli route before entering NH 17 i.e. Mumbai Goa Highway. Rode till Mahad, from where we had to take the left turn for Raigad Fort. Mahad to Raigad Fort was another 30 Km. Though the whole ride was quite scenic and beautiful because of the monsoon but the last 25 Km till Raigad fort was splendid. Some photos from Mahad to Raigad Fort route Uphill ride to Raigad Fort was quick and steep. Nice view of the plains can be seen once you reach a certain height. There are …

Jaipur in a day: Amber Fort and the charm of Sheesh Mahal

I was on a one day tour of Jaipur on my Rajasthan trip. The day started with Hawa Mahal and later Amber Fort. Hawa Mahal was a gorgeous to visit.  Masterji picked us from Hawa Mahal and left for Amber Fort rather Amer Fort as called by locals. The fort is a bit at a distance from the old city of Jaipur. Road leading to the fort is shaded with trees on both sides, nicely laid tarmac sort of a curvy hill road. Within half an hour we were at the base of Amber Fort. The fort has two options to arrive at the main entrance gate. One makes use of elephants and another one is for motorcars. People take the Elephant ride from the base to the entrance. The elephant walks up a narrow slope zig-zagging to the entrance. But it costs on the pocket. Masterji dropped us near the entry gate. Punched our composite ticket which we had purchased from Hawa Mahal. Took a guide to get the things explained. Right after the entry …