Monday, October 4, 2010

Karde, Dapoli

Maharashtra's Konkan region is dotted with innumerable beautiful beaches - some are too small to be named, and others are more famous (like Alibaug & Kashid). Obviously, the more famous beaches lie closer to Bombay, but they are also the most crowded and commercial - Alibaug being the case in point. The beaches further south are cleaner, less commercial and more importantly, empty. In some of these places, you can have the entire beach to yourself for hours. It might not be everyone's idea of a beach holiday - most of our contemporaries seem to prefer the familiar comforts of Goa. But we like the idea of an untouched beach where there is nothing but the waves or seagulls to distract you. If that interests you too, then read on

This weekend, we found ourselves at the beach of Karde, 15 km from the town of Dapoli in Ratnagiri district. Many mistakenly believe that Dapoli is a beach destination itself - it is not. Dapoli is about 10km from the sea and from Dapoli, you have the option of visiting four beaches - Anjarle, Harnai, Murud & Karde (going north to south, within 25 km of each other). Murud is the largest among these, and the most 'touristy' - it gets quite crowded in the evenings and we thought the beach was the worst - more black mud than sand. Harnai has a nice beach stretched along a small bay. But, it is also adjacent to the fishing village of Harnai - and every evening the fleet comes in with the catch of the day. While it is supposed to be nice to watch, it makes the entire place reek of fish. Anjarle is a town more known for its Durga Devi temple and its beach was ok, nothing fabulous. Karde, seemed to the best beach among the four - it is more like an extension of Murud beach, but devoid of the crowds and the black sand. It extends a long way, more than what we could walk ...

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Monday, August 30, 2010


When the monsoons come to Bombay, it brings with it nonstop rain, waterlogged roads and general chaos all around. But it also gives us the reason to look towards our weekends afresh – because it is at this time that the surrounding Sahyadri range gets splashed in a brilliant bright green colour – a shade more vibrant than what you have seen before (if you aren’t from Bombay). Hence it is a common sight to see Mumbaikars get into overloaded Innovas & Taveras and driving out to Lonavala or Mahabaleshwar on weekends.

With our penchant for going to lesser crowded (and hence lesser known places), we found ourselves in Dabhosa this year. Dabhosa is a small village in Thane district in the northern part of Maharashtra, 160 km away from Bombay. The nearest town from Dabhosa is Jawhar, about 20km away. Jawhar lies in a forested hilly area at the edge of Sahyadris with comparatively sparse habitation. With the rains, the entire countryside is awash in green, which makes sights like these common along the road

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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Like everyone else out there, we also have a list of places in the world we wish to see with our own eyes – mix of common and not-so-common locations. And while most of those locations will very likely remain dreams, we were able to fulfil one of our desires – when we went to see Angkor Wat in Cambodia this June

For those who can't quite place the name, Angkor Wat is the largest temple in the world (by area) and is considered by many to be one of the seven wonders of the world. Like some Inca and Aztec cities, the place was forgotten and covered up by the jungle, till French explorers rediscovered the place in the 1860s. Then Pol Pot and the civil war kept Cambodia out of bounds for the rest of the world till the 1990s. The temple and the adjoining capital city of Angkor Thom was built by the Khmer kings of Cambodia. Their style of architecture borrows a lot from South India and depicts mythology from Hinduism and Buddhism.

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Saturday, July 3, 2010


After feasting our eyes on the magnificent Angkor Wat ruins, we joined another couple friend in Langkawi, Malaysia to enjoy a few days of azure seas and white sand beaches. Unfortunately, our timing wasn't the best and our visit coincided with the rainy season there. However, the island itself looked very green and beautiful - and the smaller islands around Langkawi lived up to their reputation of spectacular beaches and enchanting seas.

How to Get There
Langkawi is quite well connected to Kuala Lumpur (7-8 flights a day) as well as Singapore. We flew in on Air Asia from Kuala Lumpur, where the trip was an hour long and tickets for the round trip cost just Rs 3,000. The airport is small but very nice - and the runway lies right next to the sea, making for a very beautiful landing. At the airport, there are the usual regular duty free shops and Starbucks - and more importantly, car rental firms. The island is about 320 sq km, which is less than the size of Greater Mumbai (437 sq km), but large enough to make traveling around a pain. If you have a license and can drive, it is incredibly convenient to take a car on hire and drive around the island. Indian driving licenses work just fine and you can get a middle aged Proton Wira 1.5L manual (Proton is Malaysian national car company) for about RM 220 for two days. Petrol is really cheap - equivalent of Rs 25 per litre - and the roads are in fabulous shape.

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Udaipur & Mount Abu

Rajasthan is probably the most famous tourist destination in India along with Goa and it requires no introduction whatsoever. We spent a pleasant 5 days in Udaipur and Mount Abu in the beginning of March, just before the summer heat set in.

Mount Abu is an old-fashioned British-era hill station – one of the great honeymoon destinations for your parents’ generation, but quite rundown now. The only redeeming factor of Mount Abu are the wondrous Dilwara temples, which in our opinion is one of the most beautiful temples in India (and we have quite a few of those in India). Their plain and boring exterior hides a magnificently carved white-marble temple inside. Sadly, photography isn’t allowed inside the temples. We stayed overnight at the Jaipur House, which is the erstwhile Maharaja of Jaipur’s summer palace.

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Native Place resort

Among the many hidden retreats tucked away in the hills surrounding Bombay, the Native Place resort is probably the most serene and relaxing I have visited yet. It is situated on the banks of Vadivali lake in Uksan village, one of the countless dam-lakes in the Sahyadris. It is somewhat similar to Bhandardara, but on a smaller scale. What makes this place alluring is the emptiness around the lake (except for a couple of private bungalows next door) – the sound of water gently lapping at the shores, the stillness of the lake which makes the surface look like glass, the mind-blowingly beautiful sunsets – everything which makes it a detox destination for the city dweller (

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