Posted in chennai, covelong beach, mahabalipuram, pondicherry, promenade beach, travel, travel diaries, traveller, travelogue, Uncategorized

Travelogue – the mighty trio of Chennai, Mahabalipuram and Pondicherry

A chauvinistic land known for the Tamil pride is an enigma for us Delhiites. So when I decided to visit this quaint capital, little did I know that a cultural shock eagerly awaited me.

The common thing that I observed at all the three locations was the general laid back attitude – we are used to the swiftness of life and such places offer a relaxed pace – snail’s pace I shall say.

Our stay was at South Chennai, so we decided to visit the nearby places. First in line was the Covelong beach which is a fishermen’s one located on the outskirts of Chennai. The netted boats of the hardworking fishermen adorn the length of this beach of brown sand. This beach is a lovely place to visit but the vegetarians amongst us won’t be too keen on it considering the strong aroma of the fresh catch and the way some bits and pieces of fishes touch your feet as the water caresses your feet.

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Fish lovers can also spot some street vendors selling the local delicacies – I did not dare to try these one though!

If you love colours and classy French architecture and cuisine, then Pondicherry should be on your go to list. The adorable French colony situated about 150km from Chennai can be reached in a four hour road trip along the East Coast road with a running sea view on the left side. My journey was a peaceful one with occasional rests along the tree lined road and snacking on pineapple chaat and coconut water.

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Paradise beach here is one of the major attractions for the beach lovers. Fashioned out of brown sand, it is clean and well maintained. The ferocious waves of the Bay of Bengal keep washing this beach and you can have a gala time drenching yourself in the playful waters. Additionally, there are various local cuisine stalls available here and I was fortunate enough to taste a freshly prepared fish snack – it was okay though.

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If you are going on a long weekend like we went, you are bound to find it too crowded. Too congested to even move and visit the authentic French cuisine based restaurants.

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But you will definitely fancy a walk along the pavement lining the Promenade beach. The late night stroll is relaxing here though the sunrise in the wee hours of the morning should not be overlooked. Promenade is a rocky beach, so the slippery rocks should be treated with caution. There are a host of cafes and hotels along this beach and it is better to book/throng them during your stay there.

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The colourful homes of the French settlers here will leave you spellbound. Yellow, pink, white, mustard, red – you name them, they have it. The classic French architecture is the added icing on the cake. Young girls riding their bicycles to school and guiding you to your destination is another experience in itself.

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Since it is a sleepy little town with a laid back attitude, you would not get the special French breakfast in any of the cafes here before 9am. We thronged the whole white town to look for bakeries and restaurants opening up at 8am and after much hard work, we were able to find the Indian Kaffe Express which serves French breakfast but not before 8:30am. Pretty late ha?

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Mahabalipuram can be visited through the same East Coast Road and is about 50 km from Chennai. It was initially called Mammalapuram and was the capital of the Pallava king Narsimhavarman during the early medieval period. The famous Ratha or chariot temples dedicated to the five Pandavas are the major attractions here – the impressive rock cut architecture with inlaid relief is a sight to behold. There are huge boulders depicting Arjuna’s penance and Descent of the Ganges – ancient folklore hewn on these giants.

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The Shore temple is another attraction here but unfortunately, we were not able to visit this one.

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Best time to visit: October to January

Hotels should be taken on the outskirts of Chennai so as to save time on travelling to the East Coast road.

Better to avoid on long weekends

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Posted in adrenaline rush, angora rabbit, hadimba temple, himachal, manali, mountain, rohtang pass, solang valley, temple, things to do in manali, travel diaries, trekking, Uncategorized

Travelogue – Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India

A perfect holiday destination for those who are looking to get some relief from the scorching heat, Manali doesn’t disappoint you when it comes to exploring its serene beauty.
Manali should be on your bucket list if you are an adventure seeker/ adrenaline junkie. Your are sure to get an adrenaline rush with activities such as paragliding, rock climbing, skiing, rafting etc
I went there with my friends and our stay was at the Flamingo Resort. I boarded a Volvo from Majnu ka Tila in Delhi. Manali is quite far off so be prepared for the long bus journey. But the ardous journey is worth it when you open your eyes in the morning and the breathtaking landscape greets you. The huge mountains on one side, the winding road ahead, the mighty river flowing on the other side, is sure to leave you spellbounded.
Day 1 of our trip started in the afternoon with local sightseeing. We visited one of the famous temples in Manali – the Hadimba Temple, which is an ancient cave temple dedicated to Hidimbi Devi, wife of Bhima. The temple is surrounded by cedar forest. On the way to the temple there are Himachali women who carry these massive angora rabbits and try to trick you into taking one. If you are a fan of animals, lift these heavy rabbits and you will have a memory worth preserving.

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There is a giant wheel located some distance from the temple. It’s a whole new experience to see lush greenery of the mountains through a scary ride.
Much to my disappointment most of the restaurants in the Manali market were closed during the evening. Explore the manali market to buy trinkets and woollen items.
Day 2 of our journey started early. We visited the Solang Valley. The beas river flows underneath and you go on and on these winding paths up the mountains. Then further on you have to walk and you are greeted by beautiful mountains that surround you. This is where you can indulge in activities such as zorbing, paragliding and rope-way. I choose to trek which turned out to be the most thrilling and adventurous event of my life. You trek and you reach the waterfall where icy cold water greets you and there is a small shop where you can savour hot maggi.

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I was not able to visit the Rohtang pass but it should be on your go to list as it is covered in snow and you can indulge in skiing and snow mobile.
On coming back to your home you will surely miss the huge mountains and the lush greenery, so make the most of it while you are there!!

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