Wander Diaries 101- Trip to Kodaikanal

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Rejuvenate at the Princess of Hill Station-Koidaikanal

 

 

As the final year of college approaches the countdown begins. Your entire college life flashes in front of you—the opportunities you missed, the chances you didn’t take and you fear wasting the little time that is left. You desperately want to make each and every moment count. Such was the time when we decided to go to the princess of hill station- Kodaikanal. For any North Indian who is habitual to Uttrakhand hill station, this name sounds a bit scary. No doubt it doesn’t have winter sports like Manali or rich history like that of Shimla, yet it has everything which can make you fall in love with this wonder.(I am not just talking about the MAGIC MUSHROOMS winks). It truly stands out its meaning which is Gift of Forest in Tamil.

What moves you can move you
A good view, coffee, and a good company are all you need in the hustle bustle of life.

The expedition to this pretty place started from Chennai via a bus. Just after reaching, we head to our hotel- La Flora Highland Paradise Resort booked from booking.com app (It is not a paid post, I am just sharing my experience). After refreshing, lots of talking and getting the know-how of place, we decided to take a cab from the hotel itself. A 3-day wander shit was planned. The view from the hotel was just breathtaking and the place had a mesmerizing aura which one can never forget. Generally, it is recommended to stay at Vattakanal (a village just 3 km away from Kodaikanal) which is cheaper as well as provides a mind-blowing view of nature.

 

Nature at its best

 

Listen to what they want to say..sometimes silence has more words.
Feel the wind, kiss the sky and do what people say is beyond their thoughts

 

Places you can’t miss:
  • Coaker’s Walk: This venue is totally cinematic and we came at peak season time and our tryst with Kodaikanal (Kodai in short) started with this vantage point. You can go there for a long walk with your friends clicking beautiful pictures of landscape and hills. Don’t forget to have sturdy and strong shoes because of long walks.
Entering The Coaker’s Walk…Definitely a Cake Walk *wink*
Picturesque View
You call it a landscape…I call it a reality escape

 

  •  Pillar Rock: This is a place where you will fall for heights. I mean you will be surprised at watching the amazing serenity of heightened mountain standing straight in the shape of a pillar where clouds and sun played hide and seek which glorified its beauty. Along with that we also visited Guan Caves, Moir point, lake viewpoint and Green Valley(Suicide Point)
Pillar Rock Viewpoint

 

  • Pine forest: The beautiful Pine trees surrounded area consisted of a forest area. This place was total fun. It had umpteen spots for clicking photos and Instagram boomerang. The soothing chilled weather just added to the flavour.
    We even saw a Bison on the way. They are friendly and don’t attack on roads. The best part was the Maggie point outside the forest where we tasted the Maggie of heaven (It tastes the best in hill stations) and “BHEL-POORI”.
The Pine Forest
This is not happening…

 

  • Kodai Lake: Now comes the turn of the spot Winding ways up the hills, morning glories peeking with every shade of blue, pink and white and the mist enclosing the undulating hills- that’s the lake I knew
    You can run, sail or even talk to air. This is a paradise for bicycling, boating, fishing and just lazying around. 
Kodai Lake
The mesmerizing view
A walk to remember…
A ride to remember
  • ignore the traffic
    • Berijam Lake: Okay, You have to take forest department’s permission to get an access to go this area. It has a peaceful and serene environment which mesmerize by its ambiance. It is always flooded with tourists of different places and serves as the best stress relieving location.
      Berijam lake
      Don’t forget to Smile for what made you happy
      Cloud out what you need not in life
      The Lake

       

     

    • Vattakanal Trek: This was the most entertaining, adventurous and maiden trek of mine on rough mountains. First of all, this place is also called “Little Israel” and hippies island. It is located about 3 km away from Kodai and proudly possesses one of the best cafes- Altaf Café. Now the trek contains various vantage points and a lot of eateries and the best coffee of the world. This place can never disappoint anyone except old aged people and people who are lazy to climb hills.
      The Forest

      Mountain View

      I am nothing without you- Me to filter coffee

     

    • Dolphin Nose, Echo Point and Difference Rock : Digging deep and going down and down during the Vattakanal Trek, you will be lucky enough and will find these places. Each one is astonishing in its own way and the trees, caves, chasms with the outline of rocks can make you feel out of this world.
      Dolphin Nose
      The more you will se, the more you will fall in love
      Epicness at its height

       

      Leg day workout
      When you can’t find network, try this trick
      If this doesn’t attract you, just get a new life.
      Go Pro

       

    • Pambar falls and Lion Cave: This implausible land is another desire come true painting coming magically live in front of your eyes adding a cascading effect to the eyes. This is kind of deep jungle. Though it rained a lot but we managed to record the whole scenery with our eyes at that time.
    Lion Cave

     

    • Recreation- Ice Skating: All is well when the end is well, we saved the best moment to be enjoyed thoroughly at the end of the trip and this plan was made after a lot of fights and struggle but after this everybody was on cloud 9 and the skating ring just became an unforgettable and impeccable part of our life. This journey is part of the little moment we share and in this moment we are infinity.

      Live the moments and make memories till eternity
    • Solar Observatory: If you are a big bang theory lover then this is something you can’t miss. The huge telescope and fascinating equipment can just blow your mind. The only sad part was that mobile phones were not allowed so could not take pictures but the experience is worth going and you will not regret going there.

     

    A one-day camping and bonfire are highly recommended.

    Thanks for tuning in.

    I hope this article makes you as high as the magical mushrooms of this place would.
    much love

     

    Wander Diaries 101- Trip to Mcleodganj and Dharamshala

    Trip to Dharamshala-Mcleodganj: amidst the enchanting estate of deodar

    If we are meant to stay in one place we’d have roots instead of feet
    -Rachel Wolchin

    Travel as they say is best remedy to all negativity of the world. One of such a marvelous place where I went with my family was Dharamshala and Mcleodganj.

    Mcleodganj is a hill station inhibited by numerous Tibetans at the foot of Dhauladhar range. It is also home to the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader- Dalai Lama. South of this place lies Dharamshala which is famous for its serenity, singing monsoon and friendly Deodar trees. These two places have got one of the most enchanting experience for people of any age.

    Here is a little glimpse of this biblical place

    So our pleasant journey started with the song Despacito (Just kidding, My family would kill me for it). So, it actually started from city of love and affection- Moga, my hometown and through the dusty roads of Hoshiarpur, We [My Mother, father, sis, grandma and well, of  course, me] managed to reach the place in 7 Tic-Tic hours and stopped at a place called- Bombay Picnic Spot at Chintapurani Road, Himachal Pradesh. A beautiful and reasonable price restaurant cum park. We had our breakfast here and head to the curious land of Mcleodganj.

    Place where we stayed

    Before that, we went to our room. (We stayed at Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering & Allied Sports also known as Mountaineering Institute). The place was huge but quite old. It was like living in a museum. Its cost starts from Rs 500 per day (Yes, you read it right; it was this cheap) and the room could accommodate all the 5 of us. The only drawback was its location and its “Kaccha” route.

    So, when we landed this mini China (because of sporadic Tibetan population), Dalai Lama temple was the first place of our visit. This place is a quaint paradise, where every corner tells a story, where you could time your every step to the musical chants of ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’, and where the scent of incense lingered in even the dankest gullies, exists. The serenity and peace of this place are ineffable.

    The next stop on our list was “Bagsunath Temple”. This place is quite famous for waterfall and “Shiva Café”. I did not get a chance to go there because it was quite far to walk and my grandma bear would have been exhausted.

    The first spot

    There is a lot of facilities of the taxi (a bit expensive but have to be used for some steep hilly areas. The city center square known as Jogiwara road proudly boasts of Mcloo café, rooftop restaurants and Maggie-Tea shops & through it, we went to Kangra Museum and Kaleshwar Mahadev temple in Kangra.

    Picturesque view outside Kangara Museum

    The trip would have been incomplete if we have not gone to “THE TEA GARDEN”. Yes, you hear it right, these are not just any garden. These are some magical fields which gives you a total Bollywood feel. It is the best place to pose and get clicked like a superstar. Dazzling lights and the greenery adds to the picturesque like colors do to the black and white. There are lot of Tibetan cafes and MOMO stalls.

    Posers at their insane level
    Beauty at its peak

    As per research, there is also martyr’s memorial which is quite famous for its bridge and reflects a War memorial displaying names of soldiers in a natural setting surrounded by tall trees & gardens. Papa (my father) had a lot of memories with this place as his wild school trip endeavors and a reminder of friendship and it was really worth watch site. We made a lot of Insta boomerang videos and clicked like a dozen of pictures in this place.

    The War Memorial bridge

    Now It would be a shame if I don’t talk about the one and only famous HPCA Stadium. It is one of the most breathtaking cricket venues. The snow cladding behind the stadium was just mesmerizing. It might look small but is worth a watch.

    Heaven of Cricket Stadium- HPCA Stadium

    Now comes the turn of Namgyal Monastery whose beauty is worth more than words can just say. The best place to meditate, enjoy the scenery, seek silence and what not. The exile government here is making endless efforts to attract all tourists from in and around the world. It is so beautiful that I would recommend it even to aliens if I ever get a chance to meet them. It is a marvelous place and must add to your Bucket List.

    Namgyal Monastery

    Talking about monasteries let me introduce you to the Norbulingka Institute, founded in 1988 by Kelsang and Kim Yeshi at Sidhpur, near Dharamshala, India, is dedicated to the preservation of the Tibetan culture in its literary and artistic forms. Amazing architecture, built in a beautiful lap of nature is one such a place which can woo your heart and soul. All you could wish would be to stay forever here. They teach students the Tibetan art form free of cost to people coming from different parts of the world.

    Norbulingka Institute

    Little did we know that with each minute, we got attached to this place and in our heart and mind leaving it was going to be a painful process.
    Having said that It was a 3 day journey and we had the most beautiful sleeps in the world at this “Little Lhasa”.

    The journey continued and we visited Dal lake as well as Naddi point and St. John church in the wilderness which are common tourist points. Selfies are must at these places ( an eye wink ;-))

    Dal lake and Naddi Point

    This place is for the ones who can visit with friends, those who like to make new friends and those who like to trip solo.

    Thanks for Tuning In!
    To conclude

    Thank you for tuning in. Hope you enjoyed the ride!

    Wander Diaries 101-My Dulcinea (Trip to Pondicherry & Pichavaram)

    The travelogue:

    Je Veux Etre avec toi

    (Be with me as long as I live)

    Mere beauty, how shall I describe you Pondi, my dulcinea

    The Starters-PUDUCHERRY

    Being a student, it is required to manage your budget as well as enjoy your college life to the fullest. Pondicherry now known as Puducherry is a beautiful city known for its pristine beaches, amazing French architecture and umpteen wine shops flourishing in every street. Not only that, it is also Union territory of India which is the reason that there is low/no tax implied by government on people so the booze and electricity rates are quite low here.

    We (Me and my friends) decided to go to Pondicherry as it was the last year of college and we have never gone for a long trip like this. So this would be a great time to rejoice. Starting with the train journey which costs about Rs. 35 from Egmore station (Chennai). we went to hotel “King City Residency”, got freshened up and then left for Paradise beach. It is a beautiful beach, less crowded and a perfect destination for photography sessions.

    The increase in randomness in surroundings will increase the entropy of a system
    Friendship in any form will always give happiness and ecstasy
    Sometimes inclination is required to live a straight life

    Other places to visit includes: Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus(church), Rock Beach, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Immaculate Conception Cathedral(church), Varadharaja Temple and many more.

    The best thing you can do is hire a scooty or bike (About Rs 400 for full day ), go on and complete your wanderlust. Many food outlets and market in Mission Street are good “ADDAs” for hanging out and shopping.

    Now for good and delicious food at cheap rates, I will definitely refer the one and only Punjabi Dhaba in Mission Street. This is where we had our relishing dinner (cost around Rs. 100/person). In spite of that this white town designed in French architecture is a must watch. There is a lot of variety of unmatched continental cuisine which will make you forget that you are in South India.

    The witty ideas come from brains which are powered by stomach

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The first place that knocks your mind when you hear about Pondi is ‘Rock beach.’ This place has a Gandhi statue and where crowd of bazillions is always there (I don’t know yet). But the place contains some swag energy which always brings out a good DP and a moment of peace and tranquility. After more foods & drinks and dancing on “DESI” turn-on songs, some of us came here and clicked the amazing pics at 4.30 a.m. It came so good that even crabs were peeping out of their crevices to watch it.

     

    The candid expression is the window to your soul and yourself.
    Some views open up the shutter to unspoken words and unheard voices

     

    After the  breakfast from Hot Breads, we spent the next dawn in Pichavaram. It has the world’s second largest mangrove forest (the first being Sunderbans in West Bengal) which also happens to be a famous shooting place for many movies like Dasavthaaram. There they had two options- Row Boat or Motor Boat. The buzzing of motor, less time of travel and high cost of Motor Boat made us opt for Row Boat which was much more peaceful and cheaper. The pic below is of the travel van in which we went from Pondi to Pichavaram

    Never forget the three W- Wander Car, Wander lust and Wander Swag
    Beauty is not when something is added, it is something when nothing is left to take away

    The canopies, the little sublets of water with cage like topography had plethora of birds chirping and screeching all the way. The soothing weather and the boatman’s explanation totally nailed it. Picking molluscs and prawns from the river bed is a thriving business there apart from fishing and farming. The depth of this place varies from 2 feet deep to 7 feet deep. From the shallow areas, these are picked by hands.

    The ones who trade all their present for other”s future
    The master has failed more than the beginner has ever tried

     

    I can not move mountains or oceans, but what about exploring them together

    Okay well, don’t forget to bring cash as there is no ATM nearby, Plastic is totally banned here. Bring DSLR, make your memories worth. Leave back your footprints and take good pictures and memories from here because “Kal Ho Na Ho” (This story may not be there tomorrow).

    Last but not the least- I want to  thank the one behind all the struggles, the one with the sacrificing heart, the one with the magical fingers-Mayank Agarwal

    Follow him on Facebook to know more and rejuvenate the moments which you lasts for.