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 .
Goa has been and will be my favorite holiday destination. I usually be here almost 2-3 times a year. Whether its for parties, fun, relaxing or just like that 🙂 , nothing beats this place and there are thousand reasons i could quote…later though :). I totally love Goa for everything .
So it was after my Varkala trip the same month(October end) i headed towards Goa for a small 3 day trip during Diwali.Nothing Diwali special in Goa as such. This time no driving, i took a bus from Mumbai to Mapusa on the evening of 28th October, 2016. Reached Goa early morning on 29th. As soon as i got down the bus, i took a long breath, as if this was the air i so desperately wanted to inhale.The freshness and the Goan affect is just an amazing feeling.
I took a scooter @inr 900 per day rental and left. Rented scooter is best for Goa commute. I already had my booking done at Ruffles @ Candolim. The place is nice with pool and small cafe inside. Candolim is my personal favorite to stay at northern part of Goa. Why Candolim ? 1st its proximity from party places – Anjuna, Baga . 2nd, its crowd is much better and lesser to other parts in northern Goa. 3rd, it houses some of the best restaurants and cafes.
The very first day, i stroll down Candolim roads, had Kings(the beer) and delicious sea food @Kisherman’s Clove – they serve mouth watering sea food. Evening i spent near Candolim beach watching the sunset, the sea at large and sipping some beer. Late night it was @ Titos, Baga and late dinner at the shacks near by.
Second day, i took the camera and started early morning to explore nearby areas-
aguada jail & fort, Sinquerium beach, some woods, private secret villas, roads that signed – private property, and a boat manufacturing workshop. This is the best part of my Goa trips – it always has enough to explore. Evening i went club hoppin – @Curlies and my best – @Shiva valley(i love tis place of all)…Late night i drove to Hill Top to attend a trance party. This was the first time that i attended a wet trance party…under the rain. It was trippy and i loved it.
road to aguada jail, goa
A palace, unknown owner near Aguada , extra lavish
new ships at the boat parking
the raw ..just got started
Last day, got up easy and late, after a full night party. Checked out of hotel by 12 had biryani @ De Candolim Deck (must try) and went to old Goa to spend some time just driving around. Evening went to Spice Goa a small restaurant in Mapusa . They serve authentic Goan food and one who wants to try some real good Goan food should visit this place. Its far from beach and parties, but the serving is a worth. So before boarding my bus to Mumbai i got an authentic taste of Goa.
Ok today it has been different from all other times – driving to pune from mumbai on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway.
I have been travelling Pune – Mumbai and vise versa since years now. Mumbai-Pune expressway drive, one that has been recommended to all who love driving and travelling.
For ample reasons – one for the wide and long strecth of smooth road, second the secenic beauty along the high-way – the mountains, the greenery, the tunnels, the clouds and rain (esp when passing lonavala, khandala) and yes for the love of drive.
The drive is just too amazing during the monsoon. People who love driving should put this on their list .
So early morning started off from Mumbai – Saturday morning around 5:30 am. Cool weather, pleasant breeze and cloudy.
I got in my red Polo, put some good music on and accelerated towards Pune.
The music was loud and i enjoyed the drive out of Mumbai. As it was early morning and Saturday, was blessed with least traffic on the way.
Something was different today, i just felt it was not normal. Though i was happy and cheerful as i usually am when i m on such drives but there was something more to the drive.
As soon i touched the high-way, the music just went from a loud edm to a sudden calm meditative music. Somehow i didn’t feel like changing it, i just let it play. The sudden bang in my head and ears eased out. My drive became as calm as the music itself.From 140km/hr i slowed to 100km/hr, thats normal on the expressway.
As i drove ahead i started noticing everything around me more clearly. Suddenly the presence of everything that was moving along with me enhanced, as if everything could see me happily driving. I started smiling seeing this. It was strang and beautiful at the same time.
The trees that where dancing with the wind seemed whispering with each other. It seemed as if they spoke and giggled among themselves.
In my rear view mirror and side mirrors i saw the black cloud following me, like it was chasing to shower itself on me.
This had rarely happened with me. Though i did connect with the nature everytime i drove to such places and felt completely in love with it, this time it seemed as if the nature was in love with me.
It was one of the best time and moment for me. The feeling was overwhelming and to it added the light bright green bushes, tress and plantation on either side of me.
One side was the more calm green that rested and covered the large stones and on the other side was small lovely bushes that danced along the highway.
When i slowed down, i could feel some cars just zooming ahead of me, moving in the same direction…probably to the same destination. Some in Mercedes, some in BMW, some in same as mine and some in others, but all headed towards the same direction.
Something just struck me, felt what if Life is just a journey that we all are travelling here…on this Earth ?
What if we are just travelers to this beautiful planet ? What if we have just build and destroyed on our journey to somewhere else ?
Cars that zoomed in this journey seemed be missing so much of the journey itself. The beauty of the moment.
May be moving slow was the way to live here, enjoying what was already there for us. Relishing the creation, seeing, feeling, loving and being loved.
The road seemed just a medium to stay on the journey, all destinations seemed same at that particular moment.
Some rushed through it, some went calmly.Some where in lavish cars some in ordinary .The point was to be in a car, that was basic to be there. Like earning the basics of life (doesn’t stop from earning the best) and being happy, but still not wrong in wishing to drive the best, if you learn to be in the moment.
My thoughts, my mind and myself felt like floating in a different ocean. The music had added to my situation.
At an instance i realized a small pain, a hurt in my heart that i had been carrying for while now.
On the other hand i realized that these are emotions that we carry, and somewhere i was lucky to know how it feels to get hurt (some may say its insane)…but yes i genuinely felt lucky for all the emotions that i had dealt with till date – thats a part of being human.And more than that, i felt and i have learned to move, getting to know what emotions really are. Its a natural reaction of our inner self to the outer world.
It only creates problem when we hold onto the emotions – good or bad and don’t let them pass.
After an hour finally the cloud managed to catch me and burst on me, just on me….and then everywhere as far as i could see.
Light shower of rainfall mesmerized my already trance state.
I felt one should definitely take such small solo trips alone – if they have too many questions from Life….or even if they don’t.
The magic was that as soon i was about to touch Pune, the music ended and got back to some normal edm track.
Whatever it was, i was amazed with the drive that day. I reached Pune with a carzy calmness within me.
Wednesday, April 6, 2016
Trip to Leh – Ladakh – Chapter 2
I assume most of you, who are reading this must have read Chapter One also and if you havent i would recommend to read that 1st
before you begin with this.
So as we were done at the cafe @ Manali we picked our stuffs and got ready to go to our hotel – shimlog. As i was in a real good mood now(the good Manali stuff 🙂 ) i truely was enjoying every moment there – the chill, the heavy rain,the breeze and the fun.
We ran down and outside the cafe to get an auto, stuffed together all at the back seat as the rain was too heavy. The rickshaw wala covered the sides immediately. Only sprinkles of water touched me…and i was loving it.
We reached the hotel and after getting freshen up we spoke to the manager there to arrange for our trip to Leh. He had some options – private cab/ sharing cab and tt(tempo traveler). Private cab was pretty expensive and sharing a cab didnt make much sense. we finalized tt, as it was under budget and we thought would be better than sharing a cab for the long journey ahead.
Along with us there were 5 more guys who were suppose to travel from there.We packed and left from manali early morning by 5am. Early morning we stopped just outside the hotel to have tea, till few who were late joined us.
Sipping the tea, we were watching the snow covered peak among pine trees and were enjoying the beauty of surrounding mountians. Lovable view was it.Knowing little at that moment that soon we would be crossing those peaks.
Soon we all were done and we left for the amazing road trip to Leh Ladhak. As we move away and in the valleys towards leh, the green and the scenic beauty became just amazing .It was worth the admiration of the place.
It became colder and we started getting chills inside the tt now.we all were enjoying every sec of our life, seeing, feeling and loving every beauty out there. In a while all in the tt started behaving less of strangers and we started some dialogues. 2 guys were from Mumbai, 1 was a chef and he was travelling from Goa, 2 army men and a driver and his conductor apart from 4 of us. The chef was pretty interesting. He used to travel back from Goa every year at this time as the shacks close down in coming months, he then works in leh or somewhere in north part of India for 6 months and then again goes back to Goa. He had been doing this since almost 6 years now and he enjoyed it. The 2 army men had base at Leh. The driver and the conductor were from Manali.
One thing i missed earlier, while we were discussing and finding ways to go to leh from manali – every other carriers told us that it would take minimum 24hrs to reach Leh.
But the gentleman who was driving us had told he would make us reach in 13hrs…we weren’t much surprised until later. As we moved ahead the greenery around started fading and we could see more valleys and mountains – becoming larger along the way.
The valley behind as we move up and away
On way the driver started smoking – weed…i was like what u doing ? he told that it was normal and does this everytime. We didn’t bother much and continued, laughing, chatting and enjoying every beauty out there. If ever you want go to leh do take the route from manali via road, you would miss a lot if you fly.
There were few amazing places that we halted for sometime, small break. Waterfalls could be seen coming from the peaks above that were covered in clouds.
The green was just too refreshing and the breeze was now pricking on our skin. It was cold. We had started seeing ice here and there, some hidden between moutain clevage and some just lying there, still and cold. We took a small halt at Rotang Pass, ice everywhere and we were among the clouds that we saw from the lower plains.
We reached Sarchu by evening. In all my research and suggestions from friends, i was told that we should halt at Sarchu for the night
and then next day early morning should leave for Leh. This was mainly to adapt to the higher altitudes. But our driver as promised told he would drive whole night and there wont be much problem.
Thats me at Sarchu, using an open toilet…yes using 🙂
Sarchu halt for snacks. Ideally we should have stayed here the night.
Ours was the first trip and had less idea of the altitude issues. We ate hot mutton and rice there and we all began again.
By now dark started falling and we could see only ranges now. Humungous mountains panited in various shades of brown and black. As we moved higher Suraj started complaining of slight headache and one more guy started having a similar problem.
We then realized what many had told us before our trip, that there would be pressure change and this might happen. And now we came to understand that why Sarchu was a point of night stay and why all other carriers had told that it would take 24hrs minimum.
It was too cold and dark had engulfed everything outside by now. The road had steep valley on the sides and now the beauty looked pretty dangerous to us.
We were in the midst of higher ranges and could see few trucks struggling to move up in the far off hills. Suddenly one of the army men jumped in front and shouted to the driver – “bhai shahab gaadi rokiye”, we all turned to the driver and to our shock he was dizzy, and as shocked as he came out of the dizziness…we all requested him to take break as it wasnt a good idea to drive in the black – one people inside started with lil headaches, second the road seemed dangerous and third the driver was on a high and now we couldn’t risk it.
After a bit of argument he agreed to stop at Pang. Though pang itself was much higher 15001 Ft above sea level, we didnt have any option now. Ideally its Sarchu at 14000 ft were one should take a halt or before that. There were tented accomodation there and we could feel the vast strectch of giant moutains surrounding us. Though the weather was damn cold and Suraj,Bhagya and Manmeet were all in bad state, i somehow enjoyed the vastness of the place, the ranges, the cold …all. We took a tent there and were provided with number of blankets to help us from cold. Suraj was in bad headache,and Bhagya and Manmeet started vomiting. These were normal reactions though, to the change in altitude.
One thing to note here – whenever planning for Leh, u need to be fit and should be doing some workouts before the trip.
For me, my yoga and mediation helped a lot here. I really felt the difference there, no sign of headache or any type of health issue. I had to handle all of them that night.
Due to the headache and vomiting no body was able to sleep properly, but atleast could rest for some hours.
Early morning we left from Pang. Suraj was still with the headache and Manmeet and Bhagya too, were not much good. we stuffed inside the tt and started with lil excitement towards leh. We were in sleepy mood and just tucked inside.
The morning shone brighly on us in those mountain ranges.After not so good night for most, we felt we were blessed with the beauty again.
This time the beauty was just too different, like one that we had never seen before, never….we were high on the ranges, very very high.
So the journey from here would be understood better with the photos which explains it all.
—- Leh here we are : The 1st thing was to go see a doc as Surajs headache was continuous. When we went to the hospital, we saw n number of travelers with some problem.The reason for all was same – oxygen level decrease due to low air pressure and the solution for all was same, to get more oxygen from the oxygen cylinder for half an hour.Once done all problems were solved, at least better.
From here i would share the pics of places we visited – the journey was adventurous and pleasant at all places. We drove on top of the highest motorable road
in the world – Khardungla, drove through the most dangerous and adventorous roads, walked on ice and saw people from around the world who rode through the ups and downs.Visited the famous Pangong Lake, stayed at the most peaceful camp in Jispa, visited best monasteries, stood before 32 metre statue of Maitreya Buddha near Diskit Monastery.
We had got the best driver with us and made sure we had our best time there.
Taking care of all our needs and comfort. And we learned one word “Juley”. Leh people are soft spoken and calm(mostly) and whereever you go they greet with Juley.
Before leaving leh i had to through away the stuff i had got from Manali, didnt wanted any risk at the airport.
We flew from Leh to Delhi and had an amazing time there. As we had no booze or anything else in Leh-Ladakh, we came back and had a blast party at Haus Khas
with some khass friends. Pankaj shir,Amarjit,Bhabhi,Saurabh,Varun and we four. Loved the place Haus Khas and we hopped couple of pubs finally landing at Social where we danced our hearts out.
One of the best trip was soon ending with lots of adventure,fun, amazing site seeing and loads of memories for a lifetime.We flew from Delhi to Pune the next day.
Back to the parties, work and more and getting readied for our next trip………………….