Goa (India) - Home Away from Home - Chapter 4

Goa, India

March 2020: 

Covid-19, The Virus, Pandemic, India under Lock-down, Oxygen, Masks, Sanitizer, Stay Home.... We got used to hearing all these terms since March 2020 when we witnessed first of its kind pandemic at least for our generation. We were all locked in our homes surfing the news channels to understand what exactly is happening, what the hell is this virus and why is it so dangerous? More information we got, scarier it became. Stepping out felt like a thing of a past and we all adapted to the new normal and started working from home. No excitement for weekends, the only excitement we felt was watching new web series, having zoom calls with friends and trying new recipes at home.

Why 'Mona Lisa' is so Famous?

Mona Lisa, one of the most talked about, written about, searched about and most visited painting in the world. What makes it so famous? Well, definitely it is amongst the most beautiful paintings in the world, but is that enough to make it that famous?

Meghalaya - The Abode of Clouds


We all have our own bucket list with all the fancy places we want to visit and experience by our own. I also have one, but to be honest, Meghalaya was there but not in my Top 3 destinations. I am more of a beach person who enjoys lazing at the quiet beach holding a beer under the sun looking at the waves. My wife though, wanted to go anywhere other than beach. Meghalaya is one destination we agreed on instantly. One of my friend also decided to join us along with his partner a day later.

Booking tickets and hotels didn't take much time, but deciding what all to cover in Meghalaya took lot of time. We had limited time and list of places to visit was huge. We spent lot of days in designing the itinerary and finalizing the places we would be able to cover within the limited time we have and trust me, this was most difficult part. Although we did cover most of the places, but if we had more time, we would have enjoyed a lot more. 

Goa, when it started to feel like Home - Chapter 3

Arambol Beach, Goa

My mind keeps telling me to explore other places, new destinations, explore different cuisines, but my heart keeps telling me to go back to Goa. Not that I don’t love exploring, but I don’t know why, when I think about vacation, Goa is the only place that comes to my mind. Goa to me is like a second home where I feel relaxed, comfortable and satisfied. I love beaches, the serenity, the warmth of the sun and the feel of water and sand on my feet.

Sariska National Park - The Home of Tigers

Sariska Wild Life
Sariska Tiger Reserve
Not a very long time ago, I was pretty stubborn to view the tiger in its full glory, where it roams wild and free, where it doesn't have to rely on human to be fed, where just his one roar is enough to make every living being turn their heads. With an unsuccessful track record of not spotting a tiger in any of my previous endeavors, to Jim Corbett National Park and Ranthambore National Park, I was pretty keen to give it another try.

Sariska Tiger Reserve, situated in Alwar district of Rajasthan is well connected via road to Delhi and is just 3 hours drive away, approximately 200 kms. Stretched over an area of 881 sq km, this area was a hunting preserve of Alwar until it was declared a Tiger Reserve in 1955 and as of Oct 2018, it hosts 18 tigers including 5 cubs.

McLeod Ganj - Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India

McLeod Ganj Hills
McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala
After a long time I was visiting any hill station. Usually vacation for me is relaxing at the sun soaked beach with crystal blue water and nothing else to do. For a change, I decided to spend my summer vacation visiting McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, also known as "Little Lhasa" or "Dhasa" (a short form of Dharamshala used mainly by Tibetans) because of its large population of Tibetans.

I was visiting this place with family so I wanted the best travel experience for my wife and kid. The best way I could find was direct connect to McLeodGanj via Himachal Pradesh Tourism Volvo from Delhi which had good reviews all over the internet and seemed safe too.

As usual, my wife did all the packing which she is great at and we left our home to catch our Volvo from one the busiest bus depot of Delhi. Thankfully we reached on time and soon boarded the bus  for 6pm which had mostly young crowd with 'Mountains Calling' written all over their faces. As we started the journey, my son looked outside the bus' window and within half an hour he fell asleep in his comfortable seat with blanket on. Seats were really comfortable and cozy for a long ride. The bus staff played 'Bhai's bollywood movie' which we watched for a while until we stopped for dinner on the way at Haveli, Karnal.

Pondicherry - French Riviera of the East

The Promenade
The Promendae
This time, all we were looking for some fresh place, some offbeat destination, far from the usual favorites Goa and Kerala, we finalized to explore Pondicherry (Puducherry). More commonly referred as Pondy, a French colonial settlement in India until 1954 which is now a Union Territory town bounded by Tamil Nadu state. The best part is that French legacy is still preserved in its French Quarters, The White Town which reflects the French Architecture, mustard/orange colored villas, boutiques and French food.

I was lucky enough to grab a great deal on flight tickets for three of us, my wife, son and myself. Booked tickets Delhi - Chennai to and fro for early February, two months in advance. Days passed in excitement and research of all good places to visit, planning all itinerary. As always, wife did all the packing with her surprising super skills and took care of everything. And no, I didn't forget my camera this time.

Ramthambore National Park - The Abode of Tigers

Well, I haven't been lucky to spot a tiger during my last trip to a National Park, Jim Corbett and this time I decided to make it happen in Ranthambore National Park, famous for its Bengal Tigers and as everyone says, you can spot a tiger easily. Its is situated in the Sawai Madhopur district of Rajasthan and is one of the best places in India to spot animals in their natural habitat.

In my quest to spot a tiger, my team and me decided to explore Ranthambore National Park. All bookings were done in advance and all sorts of plans were being made to make this a trip to remember.

Are You a Beach Person or a Mountain Person?

Yea, yea, yea, as far as it goes and you are into traveling, you must have come across this inevitable question "Are you a beach person or a mountain person?". Well, we always pick a side as our mind wanders through all the timeless memories we may have created during all those vacations we had. We all have our own preference, our own likeliness to certain kind of holiday we look forward to. 

Well, if you are not living under a rock, you must be knowing that it is not just a regular question, the answer to it reflects about person's nature as per the study in the Journal of Research in Personality, extroverts prefer the beach to the mountains, while introverts prefer the opposite. It reflects the personality of a person, instinct of a person. But does it actually?

Haridwar - The Ancient Holy City by the River Ganges

The Ancient city of Haridwar is an important Hindu Pilgrimage site in Uttarakhand state of India where the river Ganges flows as it exits the Himalayas.  The largest of several sacred ghats (bathing steps), Har Ki Pauri hosts a nightly Ganga Aarti (river worshiping ceremony) in which tiny flickering natural lamps are floated off the steps. People often come here to achieve salvation and some just to get amused by the beliefs and vibrancy. Falling more into the second category, I also decided to visit Haridwar to experience the vibrancy of the city and also somewhat to get rid of my sins (I still don't know how that works to be honest).

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