Posted by: pathikworld | July 18, 2018

Switzerland Hill Places

CALL OF THE HILLS

Thousands of tired, nerveshaken, over –civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity.”- John Muir, Our National parks
They say you have to climb a large mountain to appreciate how small you are and Switzerland offers ample towering for you to explore the world outside and the one within you.

MT SÄNTIS

Seeking a pleasurable high-altitude excursion? Head to the hamlet fo Schwagalp that’s a favourite with the locals. What you see are mammoth mountains enclosing you and free-roaming goats and cows dotting the hush green landscape while nibbling on fresh grass. Ride in a cable car that departs every 30 mints to the park of Mt.Santis. At 8209 ft it is the highest mountain in eastern Switzerland. In perfect weather conditions, you can get a 360-degree view of the five other countries-Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, France and Italy at the same time.

To get there: You can take a train to Urnasch or Nesslau from Zurich followed by bus.

SITTLISALP

One of Switzerland’s most scenic cantons, Uri can fulfill all your Alpine fantasies, and yet it remains non-toursity. It’s picturesque paradise where you’d want to stop to take pictures at every few steps. At the entrance of the romantic valley fo Brunni, a cable car takes you to Sittlisalp.
Once you arrive at the mountain station, you can venture on either a long or short mountain hiking trip, depending on your fitness level.

The Uri Canton offers ample river side spaces where you can barbecue and spend a sunny day outdoors.

To get there: Arrive in Fluelen by train and take a bus to Unterschachen.

PILATUS

At 7,000 ft, Mt Pilatus, also known as the dragon’s den, in central Switzerland is a must visit. While it’s located right outside Lucerne (around 15km from the charming Old Town), It’s hard to belive that such an out-of –the-ordinary setting can exist in proximity to the city. On a clear day, the mountain offers a panoramic view of 73 Alpine peaks. With inviting picnic spots, several summer hiking trails and mountains climbing routes with varying difficulty levels, a king-sized rope park that promises fun-filled adventure and the longest summer toboggan run- 1,350 meters of pure adrenaline- you can spend a day here. During your free time atop Mt Pilatus, you can indulge in a high-altitude lunch or coffee amid the peaks or relax on the expensive sun terrace.

 

 

THE GOLDEN ROUND TRIP: Take the boat from Lucerne to Alpanachstad. Get on the steepest (ascent 48%) cogwheel train to Pilatus. On your return, descent to Fräkmüntegg by the aerial cableway Dragon Ride and hop aboard the panaromic gandola to reach Kriens.

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Posted by: pathikworld | July 18, 2018

Krakow

WALKING IN WONDERLAND ON CHRISTMAS

Krakow is the largest Christmas markets of Eastern Europe in Old Town, Poland. People here donning a Santa cap, holding a cup of grazaniec (spiced, hot Polish mulled wine), standing in the centre of the majestic Rynek Glowny (city’s medieval market square), listening to the soothing sound of church bells-I was transported to an other-worldly, enchanting setting.

RIDING AROUND THE SQUARE

Krakow dates back to the 7th century and has a long tradition of markets that play an important part of the city’s cultural calendar. But somehow, the Christmas market is the most special and eagerly anticipated one, as this is the time when the city is usually draped in snow, making it an even prettier sight for visitors.

The buzz is best captured in the main market square that plays neighbour to the ancient Cloth Hall and has an old-fashioned aura. To soak in the archaic surroundings of Baroque palaces and the archaic surroundings of Baroque palaces and the archaic surroundings of Baroque palaces and Gothic churches, here take the hundsome horse-drawn carriages that took you on the popular 30-min route from the market square to Wawel Hill

TO MARKET, TO MARKET

Apart from housing a tall, prettily-lit Christmas tree, the market square is lined with 80-100 rustic stalls offering everything from culinary creations to Christmas gifts and goodies by local craftsmen. Everything from glass baubles, ornaments and toys to festive candies, embroidered table cloths, local pottery and knitwear has a distinct Polish appeal. As with most European Markets, the aroma of hot food remains everywhere. Scents ranged from the juice of sizzling sausages and roasted pork to pierogi (stuffed dumplings), bigos (a cabbage and pork stew)and oscypek cheese-smoked cheese made out of salted sheep milk,a speciality of the Tatra mountains.

If you wish to pick one memorable experience, it would be Krakow’s most astonishing musical sight that requires a bit of neck-craning. Atop the splendid, Gothic Saint Mary’s Basilica, one of the world’s most bizare trumpet solos can be heard. After the bell sounds every hour, a brass instrument unexpectedly appears from a window of the 65-metre – high cathedral tower and plays a five-note melody.

The Krakow Christmas market was a mini winter wonderland, even though a little touristy and crowded. But it generated enough Christmas warmth to overcome the winter chill.

 

MUST-VISIT MARKETS

PRAGUE (For time travel )

you’re in for a double treat. The city’s two main Christmas markets. In Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square, are a five-minute walk from each other.

BUDPEST (For festive food)

The biggest market runs at Vorosmarty Square in Budapest city centre. Stalls sell traditional Hungarian folk art and crafts. Sample delights like Kurtoskalacs (sweetbread).

UUBUANA (for lighting)

Ljublijana, Slovenia, boasts of a Christmas market with the most extravagant lighting.

RIGA (For the christmas tree )

The christmas tree at the medieval square is decorated with ornamets made of natural material.

TALLIN (For specail souvenirs)

Handmade Estonian crafts are bound to interest you.

View Video

 

Posted by: pathikworld | July 18, 2018

Feeling Bankok

FAR FROM FRENZY

Across the roiling waters of the Chao Phraya River, the other bank seemed quite distant even thought it was probably a five-minute ferry ride. The churning river was made more so as boats, ferries and larger cargo vessels sputtered up and down. There is a white structure with spires, which seemed to catch the sun’s early morning rays and glistened luminously rays and glistened luminously. Not without reason was it called Wat Arun, the temple of dawn, and seemed far more compelling than Bangkok’s other popular sights.

GO FOR THE UNEXPECTED

A Buddhist temple set dramatically on the river bank, Wat Arun is lesser known than the Grand Palace and Wat Pho, the temple of the reclining Buddha. For that reason it is also less crowded and makes for a lovely visit. Going back to the 17th century, the temple had a central Khmer-style tower surrounded by smaller ones, all of which were studded with pieces of beautiful porcelain in various colours arranged in eclectic patterns. It was Known to catch the first rays of the sun and hence the name. There were also surprisingly strong references to Hindu mythology with the central structure compared to Mount Meru and allusions to Ramayana.

Fascinated and a bit amazed by the unexpectedness of the place, your will quickly realized that this glitzy city had much more to offer than the obvious. Gigantic temples, swanky malls and street shopping, vibrant and fun nightlife, and stunning food at every corner were, of course, unmissable. But tucked away in corners were some gems which gave an inkling of Bangkok’s soul. Such as Jim Thompson’s House which is a museum of sorts. It showcases not only the American businessman’s efforts in popularizing Thai silk but also his architectural interest and art collection. Set amidst a thick jungle, the premises also has six traditional Thai houses which had been trans-located to provide a sense of local art and culture.

MODERN MEETS TRADITIONAL:-

Sampram riverside, located about 35 km to the west of Bangkok on the banks of the Tha Chin River. Sampram is spread over 70 acres of lush greenery with huts, traditional Thai wooden structures as well as water bodies. A family-run eco-cultural destination going back for over five decades and handled by three generations, it offers a variety of activities .The place provides an experience of authentic Thai hospitality with traditional Thai cuisine made from organic ingredients straight from the farm. Alongside are cultural workshops on clay modeling, flower arrangement, vegetable carving, bamboo and traditional dance and more.

CUT THE NOISE

Bangkok is known for its many floating markets with boats piled high with tropical fruit and vegetables, fresh, ready-to-drink coconut juice and local food cooked from floating kitchens located right on the boat. On the way back from Soojkai, there is Taling Chan floating market located on the Khlong Chak Phra canal. It was filled with a smattering of colourful boats with equally colourful goods and merchandise.

As night fell, you can go to the more popular areas of sukhumvit, Nana, Thonglor   Silom and headed instead to Ratchada Night Market in Din Daeng area. The place comes into its own around midnight. Totally atmospheric with a plethora of food stalls and al fresco pubs with rocking music, its ambience was mellow despite the noise, something far removed from the frenzy of other night spots. It seemed like the perfect place to end the trip.

THINGS TO DO:

GREEN LUNG: Garden Cafes are big in Bangkok. Water fountains, cherubic statues, glass villas, splendid gardens and ornate flower décor… there are over a dozne garden-seeting cafes your must explore to beat the monotony of conrete of the bustling metropolis.
GET SPORTY: If you want to try some adventure, head to the eastern outskirts for some wake-boarding (riding on a short board while being pulled by a motorcylce) at a Lake Taco.
LOCAL LURE: One of the most exciting things to do is to take a day trip and explore the water channels and the life built around it. In the old days, people in Bangkok travelled by boats along the river the connected to a series of canals (khlongs) running across the city. Take the long-tail boats through Bangkok’s canals and notice the interesting way locals live their life in traditions Thai houses build on stilts.
Posted by: pathikworld | July 2, 2018

ISRAEL JOURNEY

AN EPIC JOURNEY

The south of Israel introduces the adventurous tourist to most of what the country has to offer – history, beaches, hilly hamlets and the magnificent Dead Sea. If you go Jerusalem from Tel Aviv airport, you will encounter surprising stretches of greenery on the way. But the kind of beauty you will encounter in Jerusalem put all of the aforementioned scenery to shame. Patches of colourful flowers at street junctions, quaint residences with graceful balconies and the lilting framework of the Old City on the fringes of the new settlements etched he city in our hearts in no time.

BACK IN TIME

One could easily spend a few days exploring every nook and cranny of the Old City but we managed to grasp the mystical significance of the Church of Holy Sepulchre and the Western Wall in a single day. At the Western Wall, it’s quite common to see Jewish men and women praying and weeping for the destruction of their temples in the past. By night, you will experience a sound and light show at the Tower of David, demonstrating the various invaders who tried to claim the holy land for themselves through history.

BIBLICAL HAVEN

In your next stop in Israel, the Ein Gedi Kibbutz, one of several in the country and well-frequented due to its proximity to the Dead Sea. But before that, you can stop at Ein Karem, a village so beautiful, it was straight out of a fairy tale. Nestled in mountains and greenery, this little town was the birth place of St John the Baptist and is a popular pilgrimage site for Christians. You can enjoy a long stroll on tree-fringed paths, encountering churches and a holy spring on the way.


At Ein Gedi, you can stay in individual, rustic cottages with little verandas made cool and fragrant by the tall trees waving in the ever present breeze offered by local community. The community also houses a wonderful botanical garden, full of indigenous plants. Rubbing myrrh leaves between our hands and then inhaling its Biblical fragrance was a magical experience, as was witnessing the sun rise above the Judean Mountains at 6 am. At the Ein Gedi Desert Institute, if you get chance to see a Nubian ibex (mountain goat) near your stay.

DROP-DEAD GORGEOUS

The Dead Sea being the saltiest sea in the world, allows humans to float without any movement. Half an hour of soaking in its unique composition of salts and minerals was enough to leave us feeling uniquely rejuvenated. Many also apply the curative mud from the banks of the sea, followed by an outdoor shower and a dip in a warm sulphur pool.


More you can visit to the resort town of Eilat, famous for the Dolphin Reef, Underwater Observatory and Marine Park and, of course, the Red Sea which is actually deep blue in colour. Walking along the winding canal in the night and passing by energetic bars, fairs and al fresco restaurants will be experience to cherish.
On the whole, Israel charmed us with opposing elements contributing to a social, political environment, pulsating with energy.

Posted by: pathikworld | July 2, 2018

Osaka

FEEL THE BUZZ AT OSAKA

As the Shinkansen (bullet train) hurtled at a dizzying speed from Tokyo, the passing Japanese countryside was a blur, save for the occasional majestic sight of snowcapped Mount Fuji. Everything else whizzed by in a haze. It was also incredibly silent inside the train till it reached Osaka apart for the sporadic announcement. And then all hell broke loose!
Stepping into the Shin-Osaka train station was like being hit by a wall of sound. A million loud conversations swirled around, unlike the relative noiselessness of Tokyo. A bigger surprise was on the escalators: people stood on the right, in contrast to Tokyo’s left, and stark initiation into Osaka’s contrariness, and why it was called the ‘anti-capital’. In fact, everything was a bit different; even the Osakan dialect was both lilting and rougher. And conversations were colourful as were the streets and the people.

PULSATING WITH LIFE

As first impression went, Osaka seemed like an urban sprawl gone awry. But from the Harukas 300 observatory on the 60th floor of the Abenobashi Terminal building, the cityscape seemed lovely, made more so by Yodo river and its tributaries cutting through the city. From up there, the city looked serene and felt restful, but was altogether different on the ground. it did have its sights such as the Osaka castle, an impressive Japanese-style structure with moat and gardens, Shrine, Shintennoji temple, Sumiyoshi shrine, the aquarium and puppet shows. But the city and its ground. It did have its sights such as the Osaka Castle, an impressive people were more compelling reason: an ancient 6th century city, Osaka, however, was never part of Japan’s political scheme of things. But rather than sulk, it chose to build its own quirky image and reputation; something that seemed to have been a thumping success.


Even during the day, the city’s bright neon lights were flashing. But one could still spot the city’s soul between its pulsating shopping districts. In Dotonbori, the most popular shopping area with towering complexes and streets packed with eateries, I glimpsed a bit of old Osaka. Narrow stone alleys disappeared into the distance and opened suddenly into little courtyards with Buddhist temples, which unapologetically rubbed shoulders with izakaya bars and hole-in-the-wall restaurants.
As I wandered around Shinsaibashi, Midosuji and Amerikamura, I was buffeted by waves of indulgence. Massive shopping centres competed for clientele and a noisy buzz filled the air. Local and global brands, luxury and everyday products, hip and vintage wear competed with souvenirs and trinkets. At Ebusibashi, the shops spilled with masses of youngsters hanging out noisily.

JAPAN’S KITCHEN

But as much as shopping was front and centre, it was more a foodie paradise. Not for nothing did Osaka have the nickname tenka no daidokoro (Japan’s kitchen) and wore it proudly. Food was everywhere –street food, tiny eateries, cafes, pubs, smart restaurants… At its heart were some of Osaka’s most popular dishes: street snack takoyaki, fritters stuffed with octopus; okonomiyaki, a cross between an omelette and a pancake, heaped with meat, seafood, noodles, shredded cabbage and sauces; kushikatsu, deep fried skewered vegetables, meat or quail eggs; kitsune udon, a thick noodle soup heaped with fried tofu, and much more. For the adventurous, there was also fugu, poisonous pufferfish!
As the day turned into evening, the whole place got a bit more frenzied and yet, there were little islands of calm which provided the perfact spot to watch as another Osaka day came to a close.

Posted by: pathikworld | December 26, 2017

Nachiketa Tal

A 3-km trek through the lush green forests of Chaurangikhal takes one to Nachiketa Tal. It is an attractive spot amidst dense forests, and is situated between Panchangaon and Fold Gaon. Verdure all around and small temple at the band of the lake gives a serene picture postcard look to the beautiful surroundings.

Near By Places to visit:

  • Khattukal Village (a village hugging the sides of the mountain)
  • Singurney Village (village temple and nice view of the mountain and Ganga)
  • Bonga Village to Sankurna
  • Shikreshwar circle around Uttarkashi (beautiful view of Uttarkashi town and seven Himalaya snow peaks)
  • Iwanee village
  • Ayana Devi
  • Sangamchatti
  • Malla Devi
  • Vemleshwar temple
  • Gorsali village (beautiful view of Himalaya)
  • Gangnani (relax in the hot springs)
  • Nangini temple

How to Reach Nachiketa Tal

From To Distance (Km)
Delhi Nachiketa Tal
429
Starting Major City/Town/Stops
Delhi Meerut 67
Meerut Roorkee 116
Roorkee Haridwar 31
Haridwar Rishikesh 24
Rishikesh Chamba 62
Chamba Uttarkashi 104
Uttarkashi Chaurangi khal 22
Chaurangi Khal Naukuchiatal 03 (Trek)

Best Time to Visit: Round the Year

Rail :- Nearest Railway Stations Rishikesh.

Air :- Nearest Airport is Jolly Grant.

 

Posted by: pathikworld | July 3, 2015

TREASURE CHEST

wallpaper_of_beach_A_quiet_beach_in_Cook_Islands

It’s not just a quiet beach destination. From the ‘smallest’ to the ‘biggest’ ‘oldest’ to the ‘rarest’, Seychelles adds a lot of superlatives to your travel journal

Think of turquoise water. Put a million corals as underwater

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baubles. Sprinkle silver dust as sand on the shore. Imagine quintet. The shadow of a jellyfish tree, one of the rarest trees in the world. A heavy seed as an appetizer. Warning. Do not try cracking this one. The seed of the Coco de Mer, a coconut giant, is the world’s heaviest nut, Bring along Bond. James Bond. For it was here that Ian Fleming wrote for your Eyes Only after a swig of gin and tonic. If Bond is too beefy, get along a dainty, but insolent, Queen. Marie Antoinette shacked here before her death. There’s a moustachioed pirate-and his treasure chest – lending in – trigue. The booty of notorious pirate Oliver Levasseur worth $160,000,000 is still buried in Bel Ombre. So, while you do a quick 160,000,000 mathematics, let me sneak in a quick fact. All this and much more is true about Seychelles, a county comprising 115 coralline islands that are considered one of the oldest on earth. So, shed that clichéd notion of Seychelles merely as a beach destination. There are so many world’s largest, biggest, rarest things in the island that are considered one of the oldest on earth. So, shed that clichéd notion of Seychelles merely as a beach destination. There are so many world’s largest, biggest, rarest things in the island that you’ll probably lose breach counting superlatives.

Lost your breath? Want something for your parched throat? Perhaps coconut water from Coco de Mer, an endemic coconut that takes 6-7 years to mature and its seed weighs about 18 kg (the world’s largest). You sure cannot

Victoria is the world’s smallest capital. You can see it in 25 min

hold in the palm of your hand- the largest recorded Coco de Mer weighed 42 kg! One giant coconut this; its only natural habitat being the Vallee De Mai palm forest in Praslin island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Want to stick a straw and quaff the Coco de Mer water? Lossen purse stings, Please. One Coco de Mer costs roughly 50,000 Indian Rupees, One would rather chew gold than drink off this nut!

This coconut is not the only case of island gigantism. There is the big, fat, brown Aldabra tortoise, Their home: Aldabra island, the world’s largest raised coral atoll and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And the biggest, fattest amongst them all is Esmeralda (it weighs 304 kg). This big boy faces stiff competition from a 9ft-6-inch human giant that lies buried in Bet Air Cemetery, Seychelles’ first public burial ground. In the deserted cemetery is an elongated graveyard – lagend has it that the nearly 10-feet human giant died at age 14.

It might seem like an oxymoron but all these large, big things live and grow in a small country. Really small country. At the last count, Seychelles has 90,000 inhabitants of which 90 percent live in Mahe, the largest island. Of the 115 islands that string to make the archipelago, only four are inhabited – Mahe, Praslin, La Digue and silhouette.

However, nothing beats the tininess of Victoria, the capital. Walkvictoria-clocktower_400_300 into the world’s smallest capital and before you know where to start sightseeing, it ends. Rather abruptly. You could walk it in 10 minutes and been-there-seen-it-all in another 15, An old church stands like a relic of the colonial age. A Hindu temple shimmers in vibrant colours by the arcade. A cinema resembles a refurbished pigeon-hole. The monotony broken by Victoria market where the air is redolent with the whiff of fresh soursop, cassava, mangoes, vegetables, cinnamon, vanilla and a green leaf that carries the aroma of four spices in one. The crown jewel is the Big Ben. The Little Big Ben, actually. A tiny silver replica of London’s Vauxhall Clock Tower that was erected in the central round-about to mark Seychelles’ new status as the Crown Colony. You might smirk at how little this Big Ben is, but do spare a look for the nearby traffic light. It is only traffic light in Seychelles.

‘Paradise’ is the permanent suffix of this island. I am not sure which gods live in this paradise. Smallest. Largest. Biggest. Rarest. Oldest. These superlatives certainly live in Seychelles.

Posted by: pathikworld | July 3, 2015

WELCOME TO KING’S LANDING

croatia

One of the wealthiest trading ports in Europe in the past , Dubrovnik in Croatia, has come alive again courtesy the cult series Game of Thrones being shot here.

My first, rather hazy,memory of Dubrovnik was from a travel show which showed young boys jumping into sapphire blue waters from what appeared to be the walls of an old castle; but it wasn’t till last year when the name came floating back into memory , courtesy the epic fantasy drama.

The walled city of Dubrovnik once the capital of the wealthy seafaring Republic of Ragusa (1358-1808), ‘plays’ King’s Landing, the capital of Westeros and the seven kingdoms, as imagined by George RR Martin in his series of high fantasy novels, A song of ice and fire in the TV adaptation. For Go T fans, Dubrovnik quickly become an important scenes were shot here, in cluding the mountain and prince oberyn. And along with that came hordes of curious Thronies’.

Dubrovnik as a destination doesn’t need the additional pull that GoT brings with it. with its pristine beaches, the blust water you’ve ever laid your eyes on, stunning sunsets, medieval architecture, fresh-off-the-boat seafood and a UNESCO world Heritage tag to boot Dubrovnik is one of the most visited cities in Croatia.

One of the best preserved walled cities in the world, Dubrovnik has a charm in the that’s as old worldly as they come. With a rich shipping past that rivalled that of Venice-the Adriatic sea Separates Italy and Croatia- Dubrovnik was a city known for its wealth and thalassocracy.

Game of Thrones has given the walled city, known for its red-tiled croatia_2557996krooftops, a new buzz and its economy a fillip. Several GoT-themed walking toures have come up, and can cost up to 240 kuna-the local currency –in the season. Such is the interest in the series’ locations that the tourist board has recently put a Game of Thrones map on its website. The show adds $10 million to Dubrovnik’s tourism revenue and is attracting new visitors. Like me. But what’s most interesting is that it’s an affordable destination. A much weaker currency –one kuna is currently equivalent to Rs. 9.50 as against the euro which is a whopping Rs.72- means you can have European holiday at a discount. Over my eight days in Croatia, I chose to cover Zagreb-that’s where most international carriers are likely to drop you- Spilt , Hvar and finally ended my travels in Dubrovnik. The best way to travel there is on a bus, and you can easily get one from the Split harbour. A stunning drive -that takes you through a nine- Killometre stretch in Bosnisa complete with a border security check- primes you for what awaits you in the walled city.

Most visitors enter the old Town through Pile Gates. The outer gate of Pile Gate , stone bride gate, a stone bridge with a wooden drawbridge built in 1537 is what grets most visitors –the main city tourist information centre, bus and texi stop is right opposite it. 1460 opens into Dubrovnik’s main promenade, or Stradun as it’s called.

It’s easy to see why the production crew thought Dubrovnik could become King’s Landing. Its fortified battlements, great gates, draw-brides, cobbled pathways. baroque buildings and medieval monuments look straight out of the pages of novels.
This historic Croatian city is no stranger to spilt blood. The city has been under attack numerous times, last in 1991, during the Croatian War of 824 building there, almost 70 per centwere struck by shells.
Dubrovnik’s walls sustained 111 direct hits and there were 314 more on its baroque buildings and marble streets.

Enamoured by the Old Town’s medieval charm, I chose to stay within the walled city, with one of the locals. Sadly, today less than 500 locals stay in the historic centre, as most have moved to more comfortable, modern apartments in Lapad.

While staying in the walled city means climbing lots of stairs that can leave even the fittest breathless, it is an experience worth investing in , especially if that means a bedroom with the view of Minceta Tower , the highest point on the two-kilometre city walls. A home cooked Croatian meal of chicken pasta and zucchini seared in olive oil and orange liqueur for dessert was compensation enough for the punishment that my calves suffered.

One of the best things to do in Dubrovnik is to take a walking tour of the wall. The two-hour walk will reward you with Instagram-worthy view-the blue sea on one side and the trademark red-tiled roof of the town on the other. Make sure to do this before the sun gets too strong.

After you, ve got your breath back, treat yourself to a gelato. The Croats love their gelato, just as much as their Italian neighbours.

Eating in Croatia doesn’t require you to wrack your brains as most streets sell burgers, pizzas and hot dogs. But if you’re willing to spend some time, and a little money at a restaurant, then you could treat yourself to some rarely –seen dishes in India like a grilled octopus salad. Or try one of the traditional Balkan pastries like burek (filled with minced meat or cheese) or Krumpirusa (with potato).

Dubrovnik has enough charms up its streets to keep the seeker in you satiated. You can catch a rectital at the St Saviour Church, which withstood the earthquake of 1667 and is today a fine example of the Old Town’s Renaissance architecture. Or quench Onofrio‘s Fountain, one of Dubrovnik ‘s most famous landmarks. Right next to it is the world’s third-oldest monastery. Franciscan Monastery has been in operation for over 700 years and anyone an ailment can still walk in to buy medicine. The Stradun, with its polished-and at times slippery – limestone pathway and the clock tower on one end, is the Vantage point to people watch, especially when the sun sets.

Another must–do on the list is a visit to the peacock-inhabited island of Lokrum. Known for its Botanical Garden and a deserted Benedictine monastery, founded in 1023, Lokrum offers magnificent views of the Adriatic Sea and is a quick boat ride away. Enjoy a quick dip in the Dead Sea a small salt water lake, take a walk among the olive groves and then enjoy a crispy cold beer and pizza at the island’s only restaurant. And a peacock may just decide to give you company.

While 48 hours may be enough to cover all the sights and attractions of Dubrovnik, the walled city hold secrets and treasures that deserve more time.

Posted by: pathikworld | July 3, 2015

THE East Coast beckons

shelly_beach coast beckons

The tranquil beaches on the Bay of Bengal are no longer poor cousins of Goa. The thirst travel to lands – and seas – unknown has sent Indian flocking to pristine coasts, untouched yet by commerce

Awise man once said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” With proven results of the anecdote from our past experiences, and an unambiguous urge to deal with the modern-day phenomena called quarter life crists, two friends along with your’s truly decided to quit our jobs/take sabbaticals to travel, a few months back. Not the usual type of travel though; but a two-month-long backpacking trip.

Inspired by a backpacker, who had nor too long ago travelled around the coast of Madagascar, we decided to explore the entire coastline of mainland India and experience life on the waterfronts for ourselves – starting from the Bay of Bengal in the east, then descending south along the Eastern Ghats, before meeting the Indian ocean and moving up the Western Ghats along the Arabian Sea. The fact that such a trip had hardly ever been accomplished in the country made it all the more exciting.

On the one hand, we did all of what the glamorous side of travel speaks of – discuss life with people who didn’t speak our native tongues, listen to music not found on the internet and gorge on rustic Indian food. On the other, we also accepted to live through what they don’t often tell you about travel – to be tired and sweaty and dirty without having a place to sleep at night, to get lost and struggle to find our way back, to appreciate the struggles and hardships as much we wanted to admire the beauty of the wilderness.

Given the spontaneous and eccentric nature of the trip, the outcomes too were nothing short of compelling. One of them was the pleasant surprise that the East Coast proved to be. It was a conscious effort to start from this side of the peninsula, since not much had been documented about it as compared to its western counterpart. And it definitely did not disappoint. While a cluster of small islands in the southern parts of West Bengal made for adventurous destinations, the shores of odisha flaunted the vivid colours of daily fisherman life and their sumptuous local meals. Andhra Pradesh’s coast felt like an exciting roller coaster with its undulating terrains and Tamil Nadu’s beaches and historic towns summed up the beauty its terra firma.

Here, we share with you the most interesting destinations from India’s eastern seashores, so that you don’t have to think too much while packing your bags for the coast when you finalise your plans.

STOPOVERS ON THE BAY OF BENGAL PERIPHERY

THE SACRED COLOURS OF GANGASAGAR (WEST BENGAL)

Sagar Island or Gangasagar lies on the continental shSherwoodPoint-Daviself of the Bay of Bangal, about 100 km (54 nautical miles) south of Kolkata. A pilgrimage destination for locals, the place has a myriad of mythological stories and exotic varieties of fish meals to offer. The approach includes a ride on an fascinating scooter van from Harwood Point and a unique ferry ride from Kachuberia amid the intersection of the Ganges with the Bay of Bangal.

Best time visit: Gangasagar hosts a colourful festival at the Kapil Muni temple on Mahavir Jayanti, where you can witness vibrant colours at their best.

THE CRAB CARPETED BALASORE (ORISSA)orissa falls

On the northern coast of Odisha falls a unique beach which rests against the tall magnificence of rising palm trees. The exclusivity of this beach lies in the fact that it is home to Red Ghost Crabs species, which is only found in the Christmas island of Australla elsewhere.

BIRD FANCIES AT CHILIKA LAKE (ODISHA)

The southern tip of Odisha catches the fancy of bird watchers, with chilika lakethe second largest lagoon in the world and the largest wintering ground for migratory birds in the Indian sub-continent Chilika Lake. Though there are touristy boats and steamers which show you around the popular spots in the lake, a public ferry, which costs hardly 10 per head, manoeuvres through the waters where only locals traverse.

Best time to visit: Spot birds like the sanderling, terek sandpiper, Kentish plover, and black-tailed godwit best waterways.

THE ARTISTIC CAVES OF BORRA (ANDHRA)

One of the largest of its kind in India, the Borra Caves in theb-araku-valley northern coastal region of Tamil Nadu come into sight around the Araku Valley at a remarkable 800-1,300m above sea level. The excavation spreads across one square km and is also the origin of the river Gosthani which flows through the district.

Best time to visit: Enjoy the limestone formations dripping and rising as artsy stalagmites and stalactites amid the hilly terrains, beautiful landscapes and the semi-evergreen moist deciduous forests during the monsoon and winter.

THE GHOSTS OF DHANUSHKODI (TAMIL NADU)

A Train journey literally over the sea, followed by an enchanting bus trip along the southern coast of Tamil Nadu, beyond Rameswaram, leads to the ghost town of Dhanushkodi. Though the shutdown of the entire city, after the cyclone of 1964, has isolated it from travel itineraries, the ruins still stand ironically in all their tragic glory.

Best time to visit: A deserted railway platform, post office, church and boulders of a formet city greet you in the white sands during the winter months.

 

 

 

Posted by: pathikworld | June 5, 2015

NEW BEGINNING

naba kalebara

Soak in the ‘once in a decade’ occurrence of saintly souls donning new avatars at Naba Kalebara, in Puri

It’s that time of the year when Puri, the abode of Lord Jagannath, buzzes with activity. Pilgrims from across the world throng to the eastern part of the country to be a part of the world famous Rath Yatra. However, there is something different about this year’s Rath Yatra or Car Festival. Devotees of Lord Jagannath will have the unique opportunity to watch new deities, courtesy Naba Kalebara (the reincarnation) of the Lord, which usually takes place three days before the Rath Yatra, starting on July 18.

UNIQUE RITUAL

An ancient ritual that has been in practice since ages, Naba Kalebara means new body. According to tradition, the wooden statues of the deities – Lord Jagnnath and his siblings Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra – are replaced by new idols and their souls transferred. It’s not an annual ritual. It takes place once in 12-18 years, depending on the Hindu almanac.

GRAND PREPARATIONS

The preparations for this grandiose ceremony start with the search of neem trees, out of which the idols of the deities are carved out. These are no ordinary neem trees. The darus (neem tree) of three deities have different specifications and features. While the log of the neem tree, to be used for Lord Jagannath, has to be dark in colour (since he has a dark complexion), the other two logs for Lord Balabhadra and Devi Shubadra (who have fair complexion) should be of a wheatish hue. There are other stipulations too. The tree to be used for the idol of Lord Jagannath should have four principal branches symbolizing the arms of Lord Vishnu; there should be no nest of birds in that tree; a water body such as a river or a pond should exist nearby and much more. identifying these trees is anardous task. it is believed that the trees are located only after divine intervention by a goddess Mangala, who appears in the head priest’s dream and revels the locational.

CARVING THE IDOL

Once the trees are locted, the entire trunks along with the branches are placed in a wooden cart, dragged by the priests to the temple premises and kept in a secret place. The carvings of the deities which are spread over 21 days are done by the three oldest sculptors of the temple, is allowed to visit the spot where the sculptors are at work.

TRANSFERING SOULSRath_Yatra_unique ritual

Following the completion of these idols, the deities are carried inside the inner sanctum of the temple and placed in front of the old idols. This is again a very private affair. The worshippers who conduct this ritual are blindfolded, their palms covered with cloth, so that they even don’t know what they are carrying. This ritual, which is conducted after midnight, usually takes place three days before the Rath Yatra. The whole process of transformation culminates with the burial of the old deities. It is believed that if anybody tries to watch any part of this ceremony, he/she will surely die. It is only after the new deities are seated in the Ratna Singhasan that the gates of the temple are thrown open to the public for the grand darshan.

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