Category Archives: India

HVK Monsoon Drive- Aug’17 Blore to Agumbe

Agumbe is a rain forest in the central Western Ghats of southern India. A cobra breeding forest, it is also called the  “The Cherrapunji of the South” . The drive was a part of HVK Monsoon drive – a approx 450 km drive from Bangalore.

Some photography and snaps of 2 days drive in the forest…

Love !!!

What is Love ? – these four letter words ?

Love is not a want, Love cannot be a desire.

Love cannot be with one or some – Love is Entire.

Love is beyond the physical and beyond the mental.

Love is the Beauty that you carry deep inside you.

Love is You.cosmic-body

Love is that purity than could clean any impurity that could be defined in this universe.

Love is Eternal.

Love is that essence that fills the gap between you and everything around you.

Love never wants, Love never desires – it just does one thing – It Loves !

Humans try to bring meaning to everything – even Love ? So they try to define Love – Love is A Bliss. Love – thats in you, in me and in every person on this planet today. It cannot be defined – it could only be experienced. Science has made attempts to define Love – in pulses, in the pulsating heart……does it mean my cells are deprived of Love ? Science may confine Love – Nature doesn’t. Nature carries it, nature spreads it.

Love is the light we all carry inside us – The Beauty !

There are crazy definitions out there – don’t make your heart be confused. Heart is Simple and Loves simplicity in everything – it Loves the calmness – it Loves the silence. In silence and calmness Love dances – Love blossoms. Throw away the heaviness in the mind – let calmness and silence take the heaviness away – make it light. A light mind hears music in every sound and hears a song in every rhythm – and then Love dances and makes you dance.

Don’t Love for reasons, neither Love with conditions. Let Love be un-conditional. Give AND take Love unconditionally. Make everyone feel that what you are – touch everyone with Love.

Sink deep with Love. Rise high with Love.

The ones that you have loved – have reached heights – it was never sheer talent – it is collective Love – Your Love. Media told you to Love your superstars and see where they are – far from the ordinary – cause you have made them extra ordinary – with your Love. Not that they don’t deserve it – just that You too deserve it – everybody around you deserves it. Love is powerful. I quote this example – for you may understand what your Love could define the world like.

Love – Coz that is what YOU are !!

 

Karuna Farms – a heaven on Earth

Karuna Farms is an ecological living space in the woods of Prakashpuram, Kodaikanal.

Natural beauty and living style will blow your mind off. The experience of this place to spiritual seekers is a bonus. My personal experience here is multi-fold and i only share that experience in person –  and not all. To really understand what i mean – you need to be called by mother Nature…yes you need to be called.

I definitely want to share some amazing photography that i did at this place with my mentor and friend – Vinay A Parade.

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The beautiful home @ Karuna Farm, just beside this home runs a waterfall.

 

Ardhanarishvara – half man half women !!

Ardhanarishvara – a form that depicts Shiv and Parvati together, in one body. The most loved and revered God – Shiva is said to have given a part of him to Parvati or in some writings, Parvati willingness to experience Shiva’s energy made her pulled in Shiva.

I guess because of the male skewed society since ages, the emphasis has been given to Shiv more just because He was a male first. All writings that i have read says that Shiva shed a part of Him to accommodate Parvati.

I have something more to add on to the understanding that has been said and written since ages.

Prior to your reading ahead, do give a read to Sadhguru’s explanation to Ardhanarishvara. He definitely has given a nice explanation, but there are some more that i would want to add on to his explanation and also there is something that i might want to really differ to.

http://isha.sadhguru.org/blog/yoga-meditation/demystifying-yoga/ardhanarishvara/

Ardhanarishvara is a form that holds Male(Shiva) and Female(Parvati) in pure balance. This form that is usually said to be of Shiv, could also be said to be of Parvati. So to say that Shiva gave his body to accommodate Parvati does not really sound too perfect to me. Male has been given undue weight-age since ages and its time that a better understanding needs to be developed. The male biased mindset could be seen in everything around.  And is one of the reason for the major turmoil going all around. Why? (Shall write on this in my next chapter)

Everything in nature is at sheer balance. The entire solar system is at balance, nature itself is in balance with everything. This is exactly what Ardhanarishvara signifies. A complete and wholesome balance – half male and half female. Sadhguru mentioned in his article very clearly that this form doesn’t mean two people getting connected – the “feminine” and “masculine” are certain qualities, but he could not be more clear to his audience.

What are those qualities ? What is that balance that even the God depicts ? Does this balance has something to do with the kind of world that have been created today ?

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To go further we need to understand the true nature of a Male and a Female.

Male is all intellect and strength.

Female is all love and beauty.

Ardhanarishvara – is a unison of the true male and the true female. Ardhanarishvara is intellect, strength, love and beauty in one body –  the body of God – Shiva and Parvati signifies these qualities in a male and female. This is the balance of life that God depicts. Every male should have the true nature of female imbibed in him and every female should have the true nature of male imbibed in her.

The world at large is not in balance today. I feel this form, that even God depicts has much much to do with every human being on this earth today. There are many divine souls who have found this balance and have a very good understanding to the balance – inside and outside. The Gods are not just to worship – the Gods are to be lived !!

Drive away – 5 awesome drives near Pune

Most of us love driving, may be not in the traffic of the city, but on the highways. I am a hard core lover to driving. Most of day i spent on the roads – in my car. Being in love with the highways every now and then i tend to take small road trip away from the hustle bustle of the city crowd. It not only gives me my time but also works to keep me motivated, fresh and energized. The short drives has given more to me than just a small road trip.

I have been in Pune for 10+ years now. The best part of this city is that it is so well connected to all near by places by roads and also that there is enough for one to explore on the outskirts of the city . Driving around Pune could be one of the best thing one could do. Be it on the Mumbai-Pune expressway, or the Pune – Banglore highway or all the trek destinations near Pune – its just too much fun here. For who really want to enjoy small road trips near Pune, here is a list of places you could head to –

  1. Tamini Ghat – A 2 hours drive from Pune, this place is a must during the monsoon. The entire trip from Chandini Chowk – Pigrangut – Mulsi – Tamini to the ghat is filled with amazing scenic beauty and mesmerizing weather.
  2. NDA road – Just adjacent to the city (Kothrud) one could drive to the least crowded road within the city towards Garden Court restaurant.
  3. Lonavala – Drive through the old Pune-Mumbai highway to the famous lions point in lonavala and beyond. Its beauty and beauty all around.
  4. Saswad – Exactly opposite to the Lonavala highways, this place is on the hilly side of Pune. Drive to the top and see the entire city lighting .
  5. Lavasa – hit the roads to Lavasa for an amazing drive experience.
  6. Panshet – A right on the Pune – Blore highway towards the khadakwasla .
  7. Malshej – I call it the land of waterfalls. A drive to a paradise.
  8. Purandar – from kondva to saswad-bopdev pune road
  9. Khopoli – exit the expressway to get on the roads of Khopoli
  10. Dehu gaon – From pimpri drive towards Pune gate resto. A right through the army area to Dehu road towards Dehu gaon. Enjoy villages and farms on your drive way.

For all the drives mentioned above – there is no destination as such….one who loves driving could go as far as one wants to before making the u turn. Every km is worth exploring 🙂 🙂

SAFE DRIVING !!

 

The Land of Kings

Rajasthan etymology:- Raja: King; Sthan: Place

Last minute cancellation of plans by my friends to Bali prompted me to take up a solo trip to Rajasthan. Rajasthan, as we all know, has been the home to numerous emperors. Even now, when one visits this place, one can fell that aura around, the grandeur, the architecture can still be seen.

Mine was a 5-day trip to Rajasthan during which I had covered only 2 places: Udaipur and Jaipur as I wanted to cover 2 places thoroughly during my 5-day visit.

I was welcomed by a cool breeze the minute I stepped out of the airport. The owner of the home stay that I’d booked was kind enough to pick me up at the airport. I did not do anything that day as it was already a bit late to explore Udaipur. I crashed early so that I could gather all the energy and see the wonderful city of Udaipur in full swing.

Homestay: Chandra Niwas

Day 1:

I had booked an auto for 2 days that would take me around Udaipur. Trust me when I say that the best way to explore Udaipur is in an auto.

  • Lake Pichola

My first stop was Lake Pichola. It is one of the most famous lakes in Udaipur.

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  • Chetak Smarak

I then headed to the building adjacent to it which is a memorial built in honour of Maharana Pratap Singh and his horse called the Chetak Smarak.

 

  • City Palace

It is built on a hill and one can see a culmination of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture. It provides a panoramic view of the lake city that Udaipur is. The famous Lake Palace, the Jag Mandir and the Jagadish Temple are in the vicinity of the City Palace.

The beautiful mirror work and gem work that adorn the walls provide a standing proof of the skilled artisans that were present during that era.

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Jal Mahal, City Palace, Udaipur

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  • Sunset Point

The sunset point is THE place where one should go if one wants to summarise what Udaipur is all about: lakes, boats, forts, hills. It provides a panoramic view of the entire city.

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Day 2:

  • Srinathji Temple

Day 2 started at 10 a.m with my first stop at Srinathji Temple. It is dedicated to lord Krishna. It is situated in Nathdwara which is around 50 mins drive from Udaipur. It opens at 11 in the morning. There is a separate enclosure for men and women where they wait for the temple doors to open. Once the visiting hours began, there was a huge rush which at one point of time did remind me of the Mumbai local train.

  • Nagda Temple

The Nagda Temple is better known as the Saas-Bahu temple. It is basically a Vishnu Temple which is made in 2 structures: one by Saas (Mother-in Law) and the other by Bahu (Daughter-in-Law).

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  • Eklingji Temple

As the name suggests it is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Being a Tuesday, there was no rush and my darshan ended in no time.

  • Shilpgram

It is basically a Govt. run establishment that promotes the local artistes from all over Rajasthan—be it handicrafts, folk singers, folk dancers. I was lucky enough to catch a performance as well.

  • Sajjan Garh Fort

It is also known as the Monsoon Palace which overlooks the Fateh Sagar Lake. It was built by Maharana Sajjan Singh atop the Banswara Hill. From the base of the mountain, there are small buses that take you up to the palace. The journey to the top has some breathtaking views to offer.

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Day 3: Travel from Udaipur to Jaipur

I did not do anything that day in Jaipur as by the time I had reached my hotel I was famished and by the time I could satisfy my hunger, I realised that the visiting hours for most of the sightseeing places was over.

Day 4:

I was warned by everyone not to take an auto around Jaipur as they charge a bomb if they get to know that you are a tourist. Hence, Ola to the rescue!

  • Hawa Mahal

Built in red and pink sandstone, it is basically just a high wall from which the women used to observed the street festivals. The main purpose of the wall was to keep the women veiled.

  • City Palace

It is the royal enclosure which houses the famous Diwan-I-Aam and the Diwan-E-Khas and other structures as well.

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  • Jantar Mantar

It is located within the same vicinity of the City Palace. It has the world’s largest sundial and is quite aptly named as UNESCO World Heritage Site.

  • Jal Mahal

Situated at the centre of the lake, it has been a hub of many celeb weddings. But I found it a bit disappointing. Unlike the Jal Mahal at Udaipur, there are no boats that take you close to the Jal Mahal. You have to appreciate the structure from a really far-off distance with probably a pile of garbage and the stench coming from it next to you.

  • Choki Dhaani

I had been to Choki Dhani in the evening which is nothing more than a village resort.

 

Day 5:

  • Amer Fort

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  • Nahargarh Fort

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If you are a foodie then you must definitely try out these places in Jaipur

  1. Tapri (tea house): It is a roof top cafe which serves amazing chai.
  2. Copper Chimney: One of the oldest restaurants in Jaipur, it is famous for its Laal maans (mutton) preparation. It is just “finger-lickin-good”.

 

 

Panshet Dam, Pune – a days trip

Around 45 to 50 kms from Pune, Panshet is a small nice place and perfect destination for a small one day trip. You are suppose to take Pune – Bangalore highway towards Singhad Fort. The roads are good and narrow. Just an hour and half drive one could plan early morning trip and return the same day. There are few resorts near the dam. A small resto for food is just at the edge of the hill surrounding the dam and gives amazing scenic view of the dam and surrounding hills. One could spend time with nature watching the clam water and the soothing mountains around. Far off from the city crowd, its a perfect place to relax in the silence of the nature and do some photography .

 

10 characteristics the middle class should give away for a better life

I am from a middle class family and so have grown and i have seen lot of middle class people -friends, relatives and many many many more. Middle class in India makes the most of the super population here. And when i say middle class, its all – low middle class, high middle class, high high middle class, super high middle class – we middle class people are very good at making the differentiation- because we really want to prove that we actually don’t completely belong to the middle class – hmm whatever !

So observing the middle class since almost three decades now, i couldn’t hold back more to get down and write something. This doesn’t come as a mocking – like most will think – but this comes from a heart and mind that know that middle class has been a victim since years now. And if at all we need to change things around – we need to change how we behave and react to our surrounding .I am just trying to touch on some pointers here that i have observed. ** When i talk about rich, i really don’t mean the people from glamour world and people who have money and power – may be the world thinks they are the only rich people – for me rich are people who are living a life they had always wanted to – rich are all who have an extra ordinary experience of life – rich are all those who might not have made lot of money but are making a lot of difference –  rich are all those wonderful people who spread love and harmony.

1. Being Busy – we are taught to be busy. Yes no matter what, we gotta be busy. A middle class person cannot enjoy leisures of life, or if at all they do, they need to compensate it someday.Or they are believed to understand that leisure is only at weekends or some holidays that we might get out of work. You cannot own leisure if you are a middle class person. Apart from this middle class people are really, really busy – they are busy watching sas bahu serial, they are busy watching filthy all nonsense news, they are busy working, they are busy with the weekend booze parties, they are busy standing in queues, they are busy looking for jobs, they are busy calculating bills, they are busy understanding emi schemes, they are busy discussing politics, they are busy showing that they are busy(coz they think people who are rich are busy…) Point is here that the middle class family is so busy that they give their life in others hand.To decide what they need to do next, to decide what they should like, what they should wear, how they should speak, where they should work, how they should work, how much they should work, where they should live and many more. They have compromised their freedom – and they are so busy – they don’t have time to even think of this.

2. Being Worried – this one shit has been passed by middle class ancestors so professionally that the middle class person has this shit in the blood – worry. They worry – worry about money, worry about work, worry about no work, worry about yesterday, worry about tomorrow, worry about boss, worry about wife, worry about husband, worry about money-problem-263x300children, worry about neighbors, worry about celebrities, worry about assets, worry about no assets,worry about God, worry about no God, worry about being single, worry about being double, worry about what others think of you…being worried about almost everything. Worry is their best friend..its everywhere with them.

3. No Commitment – middle class doesn’t care about this word – commitment. Who fucking made this word.They think the only commitment they have to make is to their boyfriend or girlfriend about dying and living together. Else fuck commitment. “Yes i told i will call back – that doesn’t really mean i will”. You ask them why and then there comes the super answer i was busy. When a middle class person says – “don’t worry i am with you”, be aware. “I will come”, really doesn’t mean they will come – it means i might come – but they have already assumed that their words mean the same and who really cares to inform even if they don’t – that’s also should be pre assumed, according to them.They don’t have any commitment towards society and environment. Those are not their stuffs to be worried of. They are not committed to their jobs, wife,husband,parents – give a chance to switch they are first ones to do so – their conditions should be fulfilled – that’s it ! Forget anyone or anything – they are not committed to themselves.

4. Least Unity – Think of people you know above and below. Luckily i am with both the rich and the poor. I see a strong bonding in both the classes. Talk about richly and the poor, no matter what they will stand by each other – when required. More over they have their time of togetherness – both rich and the poor. They dance like mads, party, eat, talk in union. I have seen the poorest of the poorest dancing the whole night with their family and neighbors – enjoying the togetherness. This aspect is missing with the middle class. They don’t unite, they don’t dare to do so. They are already in a race with each other, how can they be united. Kick a middle class in middle of the road and no body bothers. Try doing the same with the rich or the poor – you better hide your ass. Middle class becomes a speechless, handicapped spectator. They are afraid to help, they are afraid to raise a voice for their own – at the end they are busy, how can they stop to help someone. Yes they do meet, in silos, 4 here, 5 there, all scattered, even at the time when their brothers and
sisters need them.

5. Gossip – They gossip and mind when i say gossip. Gossip is gossip, its not socializing. They gossip about almost everything – office, work, boss, girls, sex, neighbors, boys, movies, serials etc. They don’t talk or discuss, the gossip.

6. Deluded – they are the major chunk of population that is deluded. They are easily manipulated, easily, very very easily. They are the major reason behind brands like fair and lovely in India – “A 1000 Cr brand”. They drive the markets and in the most manipulated way and still never realize the power they carry as a mass. This is because together the middle class only forms a crowd and nothing more. A crowd who could be cheated, a crowd who could be manipulated, a crowd who could be bluffed, a crowd who could be robbed – without them even realizing that they are robbed.

7. Fear/Afraid – they are the ones who are afraid of hell lot of things. They are afraid of society, they are afraid of law, they are afraid of losses, they are afraid of people. They fear the goons, they fear the God, they fear security. They cannot break their cocoon the entire life because of the fear.

8. Lazy – Middle class is not because they are just middle class. Most are here because they are lazy asses. They love being lazy. They feel being lazy is their birth right. They go back home and lie on their sofa, beds like they have run a 1000 miles before reaching home. Their life style has made them lazy and they just enjoy it.

9. Complaining – The middle class people will have problem with everything around them – the system,the leaders,the education,the people,the roads,work and many more. They will complain about everything – walk in a middle class gathering and you gotta understand. Worst part there is only complaining – there are no doing, there is no action. They might swear on top of their voice to change the system- if at all – but that is like a
thunder with no show.

10. Lastly – they think that their whole world is within the 4 walls of their house. No matter what happens to the world their house should be intact. They are the ones who brooms the dust out of their house and into the neighbors – it only matters that their house is clean.

The behavior of the middle class person is easily anticipated by the smarter ones. And this is the reason the middle class people are made to dance on tunes of others. They are the ones who are easily exploited. The worst part is, the conditioning is so strong and deep that people, book, movies, situations fail to make them realize what they have been doing and how their behavior is driving so many unhealthy issues in the system. And yes, exceptions are there, yes there are people who have made a difference, but by large middle class has been the victim of the system. They are the ones who are most affected by the changes in the system. They are like the rats that are used by scientists to do tests. They are robbed of their own rights. They are robbed of freedom. They are robbed and raped by the system, and this middle class people stand – helpless, without much say, waiting for the government/leaders to show some mercy to them. To make their life better.To bring a change in their lives.

Its high time they should realize that they are the ones who can make a huge difference in the system. They are the ones who has the capacity to drive the changes that they need and want. They are the mass and the mass is the power. Open your eyes and wake up !!

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Mahim, Kelva Beach near Mumbai – one day trip

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Green, clean, fresh roadways
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Mahim Beach, peaceful and quiet

A 120 km drive away from Mumbai, Mahim is a nice secluded beach, unlike its near cousin, Kelva beach, which is much populated. A 3 hrs drive from Mumbai, Mahim could be a small one day trip away from the hustle & bustle of the big city. Towards Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway, one needs to take a left from Varai-Safale road to reach these beaches.

There are some resorts @Kelva but most of them are fully occupied by private parties and they might even not allow outsiders, even for food.

Shantashil resort is the place for food and drinks @palghar. This is on the way to Mahim  beach from Kelva and probably the only best place to dine.

DSC_0112The small town of the beach is beautiful and apt for photographers. Mahim beach is a fisherman’s beach and one could find many small boats in the water.

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Kutch & The White Desert – Rann

Mumbai to Bhuj (865 km) {Kutch} on train (13 hrs), 2 day trip and back !

Expense per head : INR 5000 (aprox), includes commute, a night halt at Shaam-e-Sarhad Village Resort and food.

February 10th afternoon we packed our back and boarded the train to Bhuj city, Gujarat. We were on our journey to see the most talked and advertised Rann of Kutch – The White Desert in Gujarat. Three of my friends from Mumbai and me. We reached Bhuj early morning on 11th, a cab had been already booked for our 2 day trip.

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Sham-e-Sarhad – A village resort, Hodka

From Bhuj we drove towards Sham-e-Sarhad Village Stay at the Hodka village – 60 km from Bhuj. As we move out of Bhuj city we were able to see wide stretch of
land with little bushes till far. The road was narrow and very less traffic. Sham-e-Sarhad is an amazing place to stay. Its a authentic village stay. Mud floors and mud houses with amazing food. The place was at peace with nature with calmness and silence surrounding it.

After getting freshen up and lunch we drove to Kalo Dungar or Black Hill. Its the highest peak of Kutch district and 50 km from Sham-e-Sarhad.

DSC_1003DSC_1163Once at the top you could see the wide stretch of the Rann, far off white land. Its one of those rare sights of the beautiful planet. Only place from where we could see a panoramic view of the Great Rann.

From Kalo Dungar we drove straight to Rann of Kutch, the destination .Its about 45 km from Kalo Dungar and as we moved down from the hilly ranges, we saw plain land, plain land as far as the eye could see. The road was straight and both side we had raw earth land, stretched wide into the horizon. It was like the raw playground that had no structure built on it neither it knew it boundaries.

DSC_1188Finally we were at the renowned Rann of Kutch. Permits had been taken earlier.There were 2 check points before we landed on the white desert. Rann is an astonishing and stunning place. An ocean of salted marshy land. Never had i seen such a view or place on this earth.

DSC_1281White sand of salt all around, like a ocean had got dried up. We walked on the marshy land and started walking towards the endless horizon on the other side. It was late evening and every step i took into the marshy land i saw a new color of setting suns ray in the sky. One of the best sunset that i was noticing .The skyline became beautiful with the setting sun. It was like i could run to the end and peep the sun even if it went down. A long distance was covered and i thought to take a small halt and sit. There were small insects that fly during the sunset and they could be troublesome. It was my bandana and full covered clothes that gave a relieve there.

DSC_1265I sat watching the sun go down and enjoying every beauty of the white desert in the moment. It was almost dark and suddenly i turned to see something that made my eyes wide open – Moonrise.

DSC_1290First time in my life was i witnessing this. The moon was just above the earth, touching it rite at the curve. Huge in size, red in colour, i had never seen a moon so beautiful. This was a stunning sight. The light of the moon was shining on the white desert. I started moving towards the moon, as if i could run and reach very very close to it. There were flash light all around, photographers best time was this. I missed a nice camera here, but the experience was enthralling. We left from the beautiful Rann by 9 . Had amazing food at the village resort and one of the best sleep at the mud house, on the mud beds. Though the night was chill, the mud house was much much cozier.

WhatsApp Image 2017-02-22 at 23.08.42Next morning was just too beautiful.I spent sometime on the charpai in front of our resort. Clean and fresh air and just sound of lil chirping birds.After our breakfast we checked out and  we went to a nearby village – hodka and met the locals. We spent nice time talking to children and the locals there. Rather we even played – goli with the smallies at the village. Their main source if income is handicraft .The village had 3-4 small houses. DSC_0103 (1)WhatsApp Image 2017-02-22 at 23.08.13These houses had just one main room, small entrance and some tribal art done on the walls. The ladies are still not seen much outside the village and take care of the house and kidos. From the village we went seeing some palace in Bhuj. Prag Mahal and Aina Mahal is a must watch. They are magnificent piece of art and architecture of the 19th century.

Later part of the day was spent at the Mandvi beach. This was one of the dirtiest of beaches i had ever been. Thats the truth and i cannot lie. Though we had some amazing food at the Osho hotel in Mandvi, the beach is not much of hang around place.

Late evening we were back to Bhuj and boarded our train and off to Mumbai.