Sunday, 27 January 2019

Food Delights in Goa

Heyyy, we are back and this time with a beautiful cute little member, our son Vihaan. Our biggest bundle of joy came into our lives in 2018 and so we were more busy in changing nappies and cuddling rather than travelling.

Now that Vihaan is a little grown up, so we decided for Goa. This time our travel was more of eating and relaxing with a bit of revisiting the old churches. I will write details about our stay and travel in the next blog because first I want to write a blog about the amazing sea food that we sampled at Goa.

If you are a non-vegetarian, then you must try fish in Goa. Most restaurants serve very fresh fish that is caught on the same day. If you take a fish thali ("thali is an assemble of rice with various curries, salad,pickle etc) you have option of choosing the fish. Generally fish thalis can have either mackerel or kingfish or snapper. The price will vary as per the option one chooses with mackerel being the cheapest. The fish is freshly 'rawa' fried and served. As with most other things, thalis also cost much less in North Goa compared to South.

snapper fish piece

kingfish piece

This fish thali contains a kingfish piece

This fish thali contains a snapper piece

The other items that comes with a fish thali apart from the choice of your fish are given in clockwise order: salad and pickle, daal, mussels with dry shrimps, rice, Goan prawn curry.

When we last came to Colva before this trip, it was about 1.5 years back. That time there were 3 vendors who used to sell shawarmas just on the Colva circle. This time we found there were at least 6 shawarma shops. We tried from quite a few of the vendors everyday and found the restaurant '49ERS' selling the best shawarma at the least price.

The stack

Shawarma roll

Also don't forget the coffee at '49ERS'. A bit pricey at 40 bucks, but tastes great.

We also tried the chicken pakora at '49ERS' but honestly we didn't like it since the taste was not that great.

chicken pakora with coriander chutney

chicken pakora with coriander chutney

Now the BEST place where we had lunch was Anand Bar and Restaurant at Anjuna. The place was recommended by a friend and I cannot thank her enough. She is a local and a big time foodie.

No matter how much I rave about the food, it will always fall short. The restaurant is always crowded and that might take a little extra time to deliver your order. The food is outstanding.  The food items are priced reasonably and quantity is also good.


A special prawn preparation


spicy prawn fry

Red snapper fry

Red snapper fry

We missed giant crabs as it was not available. So it will be there for our next visit.

Monday, 15 October 2018

Ooty Tourist Places | Top 5 Tourist Places in Ooty

Although Ooty has so many places to visit and let you dip into the beauty of nature, there are definitely a way to sort those down for a busy traveler. We're talking about people who would not get more than a couple of days, probably the weekends, to steam off. This blog post is for you.

  So basically we'll keep it short and sweet. We are going to give you top 5 tourist destinations in Ooty that you just cannot miss. Here we go.

  To start with, you must not miss any of the tea factory tours in the Ooty and Coonoor regions. There is no particular one. Any would do. But the tea factory tours consist of tea plantation view, tour of how tea is made and also a shop from where you can get fantastic Nilgiri Tea. 

Tea factory inside
  The next place in your list should be Emerald lake and Avalanche Lake which is pretty close to Ooty. This place is awesome and breath taking. You can get some of your life long poster shots from these locations. 

Emerald Lake

Avalanche lake

  Although a very common place, but Ooty lake should not be missed if you are having one or more little ones with you. Young crowd just love Ooty lake because of boating, different rides, chaat stalls and many more. One quick reminder. Don't try to buy seeds or bulbs of plants from the nearby shops. Most of the time, those are fake. 

Ooty lake

Ooty lake

  To enjoy Ooty nightlife and to bring back home some warm clothing at really attractive price, you must visit the Ooty Mall Road. Ooty mall road is more like a metropolitan cramped into a one square kilometer of area. Restaurants to cafes to cloth shops, its all here. 

Mall road at Ooty

Ooty Mall road
  The final awe aspiring experience in the list must be the Nilgiri Express. This is a UNESCO world heritage rail road and the ride from Ooty to Coonoor is just straight from movies. Book premium class tickets before hand to avoid the crowded general compartments.

Nilgiri Express - Coonoor Station
  You can always check our blogs here and here for more details.

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Tourist Places in South India | Kerala Only

Southern part of India is filled with wonders and heritage. The Nilgiris to Pondicherry, the whole of south India is full of mystics and majestic wonders. In this series of best places to visit in South India, we will progressively cover the places that you must visit once you are here. We will do this state by state. So let's start with the God's Own Country, Kerala.

  Whenever the talk is on the air about tourist places in south India, Kerala perhaps appears first most of the time with the exception of Tamilnadu at times. This is not a co-incidence. The total footfall in Keral during the year 2018 was alone 150 lakh approximately. There is hardly any competitor in this field that comes close to Kerala. However, it's easy to get misguided and miss certain places and experiences in Keral that can become a life's asset. Here's we will list down 5 such places.

  To start with, you must visit Alleppey or Allappuzha, which is sometimes referred to as Venice of south India. It's a wonderful connection of backwater canals through the villages of Kerala. You can not only enjoy natural air condition but also witness daily life of native people here. Stopping by to get fresh coconut water is a must do here. You can checkout our detailed blog post on Alleppey for more details. 

In a Sikara
  The next must visit place is Periyar. Periyar is not on tourists top 5 list most of the time and that is a big miss. It's a jaw dropping beauty in the heart of Kerala. The lake, the forest and the mist. It's just amazing. Do book a hotel close to the entrance of the Periyar lake because it's a rush for tickets at the wee hours of the day. You can get more details here on our blog post on Periyar.

During morning ride
  Kochi city, i.e., old Kochi should also be in your must visit list. Chinese fishing nets in Fort Kochi to Jewish Synagogue, Kochi has so much to offer. Ernakulam, the new city also has a few cruse trips. Don't miss the sunset trip. More details in our detailed blog here

Chinese Fishing Net


  Kovalam beach which is close to capital city Trivandrum, must be visited because this crescent shaped beach can give you some amazing photographs. The sea fish stalls next to the beach are fresh as sea water. Trivandrum city has many city attractions ranging from the temple with Gold more than Fort Knox to the Casual Zoo. You can find more details here

Kovalam Beach

Kovalam Beach

  Kera visit is not complete without the visit to the mystic mountains of Munnar. Although winter or summer might be the best time to visit this mountain range, monsoon holds a pleasant surprise for the hungry traveler. Do remember to visit the conversation for Mountain Goat. More details is there in our detailed blog.

Best Time To Visit Bhutan | Bhutan Tourism

Although we visited Bhutan during the month of June, that is not exactly the best time to visit Bhutan. During our visit we realized the primary reasons as to why June might not be the correct time to visit Bhutan. 

TIger's Nest Monastery, Or Taktsang Monastery
To start with, there might be occasional rain fall that might blunder your travel. Most of the cities that we traveled ranging from Paro, Thimput to Punakha, we encountered rain for sure. 

Near Stadium in Thumpu

Shop near Clock Tower of Thimpu
The other main issue is that there are multiple holidays during this period in Bhutan. Birth Anniversary of Guru Rinpoche is in the month of June. Not further away is the occasion for the First Sermon of Lord Buddha. Thus, you will find most government run tourist spots closed down during these days. And more importantly, you might not get permit to get to Punakha because the immigration offices are also closed during this dates. 

Rather, October to December is the ideal time to visit Bhutan from a climate perspective. Although there are multiple holidays during this time period as well, ranging from "The Descending Day of Lord Buddha" to "National Day", the climate is just stunning during this time period. We would always recommend that you call up the hotels and look up the Bhutan Tourism website to properly plan your trip. You can always ask us here in the comments section as well. Happy journey!

Thursday, 23 August 2018

Little Rann of Kutch (Part 3 ) ~ Flora and Fauna

Though Little Rann of Kutch (LRK) is acclaimed for its prime species - the Wild Ass, it is also an abode of a wide variety of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish invertebrates and plants. Spending time in the LRK can be a rewarding experience with spotting of Indian gazelle (chinkara), blackbuck, bluebell (nilgai), wild boar, wolf, desert fox, desert cat, hyena, Indian civet, pangolin, crested porcupine, desert gerbille, langur and many more in their natural habitat.

The vegetation in the Rann and its environs is largely xerophytic, dominated by the thorny exotic shrub species Prosopis juliflora, which has spread and taken over most beats and fringes. But indigenous trees such as Prosopis Cineraria still exist here. The soil is halomorphic and it is mainly holomorphic vegetation that occurs here.

The shallow and saline waters in LRK provide a fertile nursery for varied aquatic habitats (marine, estuarine and fresh water) for several species of fishes and prawns.

Getting there:
LRK can be accessed easily from entry point of Banjana village, Dasada, Zainabad and Dharangadhra are other important entry points.

By Air and Rail:
Ahmedabad is the nearest airport with Rajkot and Bhuj as well.

By Road:
LRK is connected by a network of pucca roads, highways and a variety of public transport including state transport buses, private taxis etc.

Best Time to Visit:
The wild ass sanctuary is open for tourists only from 15th October to 15th June.
A minimum stay of 3/4 days is recommemded.

The area has the highest annual evaporation rate in the country. It receives an average annual rainfall of less than 300mm. The average maximum temperature is about 40 degree Celsius and the minimum temperature is about 12 degree Celsius.

Facilities for Eco Tourists:
Gujarat Forest Department's Eco Tourism Centre at Banjara has a reception and orientation centre (under development)

Other Tourist Facilities:
Rann Riders - Dasara
Desert Coursers - Zainabad
TCGL Malvan
D.P. Arts - Jogad 

Little Rann of Kutch (Part 2 ) ~ Birdwatchers's Paradise

The Little Rann of Kutch hosts almost three hundred avian species. While most can be seen around the year, the migratory ones are spotted only during winters. LRK provides them varied habitats comprising of several islands as also inland and coastal wetlands, which form an ideal refuge for all species.

Some of the rare birds found here include Falcons, Harriers and Houbara Bustard. The Rann has a  wetland site of international importance with birds like Greater flamingo, Lesser Flamingo, White Pelican, Dalmatian Pelican, Common Crane, Great Crested Grebe, Caspian Tern inhabiting it.

Beyts like Pung, Dhut, Wasraj Solanki, Mardak, Nanda and Shedwa are an ornithologist 's delight. Besides water bodies like Banjara Creek, Nava Talao and others always offer great rewards to birdwatchers. Watch towers, tourist complexes and other facilities are in placebo help to help eco tourists in understanding this unique habitat.

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