Finally, an update on the blog!
So, a lot has happened since the last post. It was summer then, and now it’s winter...eerrr, not by a lot as I spent October in Nepal and India. I had a lot of photos taken on the trip; I am slowly sorting them out, and now photos from India are ready. So, I'm posting about India now, although I went to Nepal first for a period of 2 weeks.
India! What a massive country it is. Initially, the plan was to visit Goa, Gokarna, Hampi and Jog Falls in a duration of 5 days but of course, we came to a downhill in scheduling later. Oh boy, I greatly underestimated the terrains and the size of the place. As I was born in Nepal, which is much smaller in comparison, and reside in the UK, which is relatively small as well (I can drive from one end to the other in a day). So, our endeavour to visit those places, as planned, failed miserably (there was a big flaw in time and no direct transportation, except for taxis which was hard to accommodate in our given budget) as we found out in Goa.
My journey to Goa started on the 29th of October. Since there is no direct flight to Goa form Nepal, I had to take two flights; Bagdogra (11:00 am) to Mumbai (4:45 pm), followed from Mumbai (5:25 am) to Goa. Voyage duration was at least two days as I was flying form west Bengal, situated at east India, whereas Goa is in the west. On the transit to Mumbai, I had to stay over. First time in India; had to spend a night in Mumbai with no hotel reservation so, I panicked a bit and my brain was not functioning properly. Booked a hotel from one of those reservation counters in the airport, cost about Rs. 3,500 (airport pick up, drop off and breakfast included). In all that anxiety I forgot to get any information on the hotel, the guy in the reception said someone would pick me up. After a while a skinny guy in a white kurta and a connoisseur moustache walked towards me. “Your driver is here.” said the receptionist. As I followed the driver towards the vehicle, all the rumours and incidents (not the good ones) about Mumbai (mostly from Bollywood movies) crept into my mind. The humidity and traffic were not helping and then I saw an Ibis hotel just outside the airport, WTF! This hotel that I was booked in was supposedly 10 minutes away but it was taking longer and my perseverance was at its limit. Anxiously I asked, “Abhi kitni time lagey ga? (How long will it take?)" He replied “Aab jyada nahi hey. (Not far now.)” and we were in some shady looking street. So, I tried to ask loads of things about the hotel, whether it was good and why it was taking so long, blah blah blah. I think the driver knew that I was panicking so he handed me the hotel's visiting card to assure its legitimacy.
Quickly, I switched on my data roaming (do hell with all the charges, my life is more important), took a selfie and photos of the visiting card of the hotel which was then sent to my friend (just in case I got kidnapped, decapitated, raped etc. etc. by some sick fuck; leaving trails). After driving past a few suspicious streets, the driver made a turn inside some residential area and stopped in front of a pale building. Then I came to realise it’s a residential hotel (let’s not name names), which looked far far worse than expected. Probably the worst hotel and sleepless night I spent, curse you! Mumbai hotel booking counter! Just plain unlucky!
A new morning began, full of anticipation of a much more delightful and pleasant experience, as I instructed my weak ass brain to erase last night's memory (which obviously didn’t work since I am blogging about it -_-). With lots of positive feelings and excitement, I boarded an early flight to Goa. 45 minutes journey without a wink of sleep.
7:00 am…..so, this is GOA!
The place I was staying was in North Goa, an hour away from the airport. I was thinking of having a solid power nap in the taxi but the enchanting view of early morning in Goa along the coastal line kept me awake (for about 5 minutes, then we were in some city highway, so back to sleep).
Assagoa was the place where I booked a traditional Portuguese villa suite; recommended by my didi (sister) who was joining me from Bangalore, plus she’s been to Goa before. By around 8 am, I was in front of the villa where the owner (Sailesh) welcomed me as I opened a small metal gate. The place was beautiful with loads of open space, natural lights, wooden bending door and windows that had a technique to close and a long corridor where the dining table resides making its way to the kitchen. “Pokchi (my girl's nickname) would love this place.” I soliloquised as I was being exhibited. The room I was assigned in had just the double bed, wooden cupboard and a hanging fan. So much space! After the tour of the villa, I waited for my dear didi until I dozed off. Finally after some time she arrived hustling and bustling with her massive backpack, out of breath. Apparently she got delayed due to some problem with the bus.
Finally time for some sightseeing and to comprehend what this hype about Goa was. And when in Goa, roaming without a hired moped is just unacceptable.
Chapora Ford; I was trying to capture the sea but they were in my view finder. Unpremeditated shot.
Arambol beach; one of the benefits of being there early is in witnessing a scene like this.
Yes, we are all slaves to technology.
Damn! So many beaches in Goa O_O. Well, we did try to visit most of them in this short duration but the place is too big for only 2 days. Vagator, Baga, Morjim, Armorla, Columgate and Condolum were a few beaches we got to set our feet on. So Goa also has churches, and a lot of them. Truly a place for recreation and relaxation.
Riding this little moped up and down the road, making our way from places to places with Google J; we had a blast! Then didi mentioned that Gokarna is also a beach area with temples...
En route to Gokarna
Unfortunately, all the pictures of Gokarna got corrupted. I have a few pictures from my phone, a bit low in quality but nonetheless, here they are;
I have come to realise that not everything goes smoothly as planned during holidays. Now, another little glitch appeared in our tiny trip. 'No direct bus to Gokarna and we have to take local buses!' 4 hours from Goa on a local bus to Ankola, plus another hour from Ankola to Gokarna. I thought we had it rough until we crossed paths with a backpacker in Ankola bus station. It was 5:45pm.
We were waiting for our bus, and a skinny dude with a massive backpack came to us asking if we were also heading Gokarna. When we said yes, his eyes lit up with joy. Upon chatting with him, I found out that his name is Jake, from Chicago, who had been travelling for 7 years and who also just left Goa. Apparently, he had it rougher then us. He changed about 5-6 buses to get to Ankola. He was shocked when we told him we also came from Goa and took one bus. We all had the same destination, Kudle beach in Gokarna. At 6 the bus arrived, by the time we got to Kudle beach; it was dark. Thankfully, holiday season hadn't started yet so we found a guest house right by the beach effortlessly. 2 nights in Kudle with chilled beer, hot food and lazing around. It was heaven.
The days in Kudle beach went in a flash. No more staring towards the sea and its hypnotising waves as we headed to our next destination, Bangalore. Gokarna to Bangalore is about 9 hours ride on the bus and gives a perfect opportunity to experience this so-called sleeper bus, which I wanted to try after hearing about it from didi.
Bunk beds on the bus O_O, it felt nostalgic, like I was back in boarding school. I suppose it’s better to sleep in a bed than having a numb bum on a seat.
Bangalore or as the natives say: Bangaluru.. here I come!
Auto rickshaw AKA Tuk Tuk AKA Tampo
4th November, we reached Bangalore in 7 am. My flight to London was at 3am on the 5th of November. I had just one day to see Bangalore, "Whatever Bangalore is famous for, I want to go there,” I said. Didi pondered for a bit as she was also not sure herself. She took out her smartphone to investigate. Mostly, Bangalore is famous for IT, and another is temples. So we started Bangalore exploration with Ganapathi (God Ganesh) temple.
Tipu Sultan Palace
Iskcon Temple is a must visit shrine in Bangalore which is dedicated to Lord Krishna. Since I was in shorts and they deemed inappropriate, I hired a dhoti. There are strict temple policies and they do not allow cameras or bags, hence no photos of the temple by me but surely loads are available in the internet.