Just Diu it!

Why Diu?

I hadn’t thought about visiting Diu 5-6 yrs back and all I knew, it’s a union territory. When I heard about this from NID friends from NID and also got to know it ‘s a peaceful beach place unlike Goa, so I planned I will visit it someday.

How to reach.

Recently when I visited Ahmedabad I thought to take bus from there to Diu but got to know there are no volvo bus service so search for train started. Diu doesn’t have a railway station though it has a airport and flights from Mumbai to Diu goes there. So we took the Somnath express to Veraval. Timing of this train was good and we reached very early morning and made a quick visit to Somnath, which is also known as “the Shrine Eternal”, because it has been destroyed 6 times and rebuilt 6 times. We took a cab to Diu. Veraval to Diu is approximately 90km and take around 2hours 30min.

We stayed in a small resort Hoka because there were very few beach resorts and resort Sugati and Radhika were already full. Hoka was a nice resort with good food service and it was very near to famous Nagoa beach.

Earlier plan was to hire a bike and explore the city but seeing the heat in city we kept the same cab as anyway we had to leave next day.

What to see.

We started with Sea Shell museum, which has varieties of shell from all over the world. For sure, it has great collection but very untidily and unorganized!  Next was Gangeshwar temple, which was built by Pandavs and sea water keep it clean and cool.

Our next stop was INS Khukhri which was built in memory sailors who chose to go down the sea with the warship when it was hit by a Pakistani Submarine during the INDO-PAK war.

One of the natural prehistoric tourist point was Naida caves, it’s located outside the city and it was worth a visit and gave you a roaming inside a maze feel. Upcoming movie- Agneepath climax (Sanjay dutt dying) also shot here apart that, Karan Johar entire movie set was made in Mandava, Diu.

Nest in List were- Diu museum and St paul church followed by Diu fort. At Diu fort you can see lots of cannons and also a light house and at distance you can see Panikotha.

With that we almost ticked marked all places and moved to Nagoa beach for some hot corn and tea break. Next morning was also spent in relaxation at beach.

Later in day we went to Sugati resort for lunch. Hotel was nicely done but quite disappointed with red cushioned plastic chair and b&w check table cloths and sad interior at there one and only restaurant.

We had an evening train to catch from Veraval so we headed back and reached Ahmedabad at dusk and from there next was to catch the flight to Delhi.

Overall it was a cool experience because I also got cough and cold from this trip 😀

Marvelous Maldives

Maldives is called the sunny side of life and for me it’s a slice of heaven on earth. In fact, I have traveled a decent lot worldwide but am yet to find a naturally beautiful place as pretty as Maldives. One of the interesting fact : 99% of the country area is water and for the remaining 1% area, there are lots of islands dotted across 26 atolls.

We went to Sri Lanka 1st and from there went to Maldives and the airport we landed on was the only thing on that island.  The flight was going to London and due to turbulence few passengers were sitting in panic. But as soon as the plane started hovering over Maldives, the shades of blue took us in another world. We got our Visa on arrival, and looked for resort representative and from there our journey started on sea transports, like Speed boat.

It was drizzling when we started the journey to resort that was around 30 min away but as soon as we reached resort, it stopped and we were offered welcome drink followed by a quick tour of resort and then eventually escorted to our super deluxe beach resort. There is a saying, it’s not a beach destination but destination is beaches! It was amazing to see closest beach just few feet away from our bungalow and reef just below it. One could see hundreds of tropical fish, just from a few feet above water.

1st day we spent in walking around the resort. Sometime we sat on the wooden deck and watched the sun getting melted into sea of tropical colors and another time strolled around the resorts and watched different fishes in and out of turquoise reefs.  Did I mention that the dinner was awesome – we opted for half board so that we can eat at different restaurants in resort during the lunch time.

Next morning we were up and ready to go Male city tour. The island is the commercial hub of trades and hardly 2.5 square km in area. We visited some souvenir shops and bought huge shells and ceramic stuff and spent some time in a royal café. Once we were back to resort, we walked down to an Italian restaurant and had one of best pasta and wine. After some rest we headed for water sports. You have range of water sports to do from snorkeling to scuba diving to sailing to surfing, including not forgetting to bet at crab race at resort. It’s fun!

The best part about Maldives luxurious resort is that the chefs keep introducing different items every time you visit the restaurant for buffet. After a delicious breakfast, we headed for one of the interesting thing: a submarine drive. We 1st took Dhoni (the localized motor boat), which was fun as it kept going up and down with Indian Ocean waves. After 30-40 min ride we reached the jetty and from there we entered inside a capsule, which was submerged in sea. As soon it started going down, the underwater world started appearing in front of window. We saw eel, lionfish and many colorful fishes. I tried to make a video but it was futile.

Rest part of evening was spent watching sunset and when in morning sun was trying to emerge out we had a quick breakfast and started walking towards jetty with a thought to return back to this paradise once again.

For more photos please visit http://www.facebook.com/pureblissphotos or http://www.purebliss.in

Sari, no more for Nari!

Other day I thought of wearing cotton sari to office but someone disowned the idea. And earlier wearing sari for a working lady is elegant and makes her look sober and sexy at same time. But now a day’s woman wears only on occasion. Like when on Diwali time HR set the dress code ‘traditional wear’ or when a girl get married and joined office after a long wedding vacation with chuda  (handful red bangles) and sari. Or only a certain ladies like to wear like Indian Airlines airhostess. Even receptionist doesn’t feel pride in wearing sari and Indian hospitality business also changed dress code from sari to western wear.

So If I want to go office in starched cotton sari with sleeveless blouse I be prepared I’m not going to work whole day in normal way. Colleagues will ask- any special occasion, during lunchtime everyone in canteen area will give you a look.

So wearing sari for no reason for a corporate girl is NO unless you wear sari to office on a regular basis else you just can’t wear.

What could be the reason for decaying of such a nice traditional wear :-

– It is difficult to wear and manage. Most of the girls don’t know how to wear sari.

– Maintenance is time consuming. Imagine ironing and folding a nine-meter long sari.

–  Gone are days when sari used to be affordable. Now it cost a lot. And we want branded sari too, like, is it from Nalli!

– Changed lifestyles. Earlier we used to carry handbag. Now we have mobile, laptop and above all managing a dress! Too much!

– Western style toilet! Yes, that’s also a problem.

– Accessories. With sari you need matching jewelry and bangles while with trouser & shirt it’s not so important to have accessories.

– Outdated tag! If you wear sari on regular basis than you will be tagged behin ji type! But if you wear occasionally, you will be loaded with compliments!

Above image showing how to drape sari. Image source: Internet.

Ahh, such a classy Indian dress now a days hardly make any sense; so why to wear.

Aerobics vs Yoga

Me! Writing a blog post on exercise is really an exercise for my mind! Well, I never exercised in past years apart from school days where P.T. was compulsory. I was so petite that I was under the impression; exercise is for those who want to loose weight. How wrong!

Our own lifestyles teach us lessons and me, the olive (remember Popeye the Sailor cartoon) kind of looking started gaining weight due to sitting in front of computer all the time. Long hours in cab – office & computer- food- Long hours in cab- food- computer- sleep. Where is walk when you talk? And see, I gained weight! In past 2-3 years I am no more same as I was in college. Now the same people, who used to tell me to eat, started asking me to loose weight!

So I joined Yoga class few months back. Yoga is a trend globally from some time. In foreign people pay huge amount to learn yoga and in our country Baba Ramdev is spreading the ‘yog rog’.

Yoga has different asanas, meditation and slow movements. You feel the pain in initial days and gradually you become flexible and learn to hold for longer period. As yoga is relaxing and slow, you feel relaxed and calmer after it. Yoga interests every age group- from young soul to souls going to heaven soon.
BUT
Aerobics! It’s fast (of course fun too) there is music and variations are many and you can do floor aerobics or step aerobics- many types. But yoga also many types like bikram yoga or circus yoga. But there is lots of cardio work, fat burning and muscle definition where as in yoga you are under control of body & mind and soul. And mostly young and middle age group people do aerobics.

So after doing yoga for 3+ months I switched to aerobics as I was looking for a morning class in my premises and I find the class very professional, strict trainer and fun filled. BUT legs are hurting like hell and the day you work with dumbbells, your every part is going to ache! After that I can only say, yoga is easy and aerobics is crazy. Yoga is relaxing, aerobics is taxing!
Let’s see, will I continue my fitness gaga or sleep & laziness will take over the saga!

Image Source: MSU.edu and fitnesscafe.

Dubai dreams.

Dubai is a global business hub with 90% expat population, which makes it very unique. Recently I got a chance to visit Dubai. It is one of 7 emirates of UAE. It is a city that has so many things to offer from petroleum to real estate to one of the best malls and sand dunes for adventurous desert safari including harsh sun.

Burj Al Arab- Resembleing a billowing sail, a luxury Hotel, looks great in Dubai skyline.

Dubai to live.

Affording a home in Dubai is not cheap if you are not staying from few years. The rent of homes cost a lot of Dirham (Dubai’s currency). But it has few great residential properties like Dubai marina, which is the second largest man made marina in world. Aspiring to own a villa on Palm Jumeirah is only possible, if you are either born with a silver spoon or are a celebrity.

Cost of living in Dubai is not very high – it is just that water costs more than double of what petrol costs. You can get all the vegetables, fruits as well as Indian brands packaged items. Best is there is no personal income tax in Dubai.

Malls & Souks.

Aquarium at Dubai mall

Skiing at Dubai Mall

Name a brand and you will find it in Dubai. With so many huge malls in every corner, if they really have to stand out, have to offer something different. That’s how Dubai Mall,  world’s largest shopping mall has an under water zoo & Aquarium, ‘Mall of Emirates’ has Skiing, yeah can you believe skiing in such hot weather of Dubai.

one of gold shop in Gold souk area

Souks, which are traditional Arabic markets, are one of the more popular word in the city. Gold souks are more popular due to cheap price and varied options availability, which is why it is also known as the city of Gold. Though, I didn’t find it any less expensive than other places. Other popular souks are Spice souk and textile souk.

Fun

desert safari

If you went there and didn’t go for desert safari, then your visit is not completed. A humpy ride on golden sand dunes while sun is setting followed by Arabic barbeque and belly dancing and smoke flavored sheesha (hubbly-bubbly/water pipe) is just the right way to enjoy the time there.

Tip– don’t opt for over night safari unless in a huge group. We chose that and we were the only person left after meal so we had to come back.

a kid having fun with a belly dancer

Go for a night walk on Jumeirah beach, if you are lucky and all those tall buildings Burj al Arab, Burj Dubai are well lit you can click nice night shots. (I didn’t get any pic, so I was disappointed.)

deira creek area

After having a tough day at Media city; Dhow cruise really came as a relaxing option to spend the evening. Or just watch Hindi cinema in one of the multiplex. Reel cinema in Dubai mall has 22 screens with lots of movie choices. We watched 1st day show of London Dreams there.

 Something more.

You will like the men and women roaming around you in white and black dresses. (Men wears traditional dishdasha / khandura with ghutra and agal and women wear abaya (a long black cloak) with sheyla or hijab (a scarf).

Special parks for ladies are common there, and even in amusement park or Jumeraiah beach you will see a day especially for women and kids or family.

Cars are cheaper compared to India. Toyota is market leader followed by Nissan and Honda. Cabs are quite nice, most are Camry, Innova or Lancer. Before hopping in the city bus, make sure you got pass from some terminal or metro station as most of time bus drivers would not carry tickets/pass.

Now metro service is also started in Dubai, take a ride. In fact I got a better view of city from it.
Do some shopping at Dubai Festival city, can get good deals at IKEA store. Taste some Arabic sweets too; I liked it a lot. Most important, don’t forget to have as many dates as possible. 😉

Can find more Dubai’s shots here.

Summer Escape.

When the summer heat makes us restless, all we look forward is soaking ourselves in water. Best way to do so is indulging in some water sports. So what if you, like me, don’t know swimming 🙂
White water river rafting used to be a mode of transportation but now it’s a popular recreational activity which gives you thrills when doing so. Raft and rapids and you are rowing your paddle. Life seems so much calm and adventurous at same time.
relax-at-rishikesh 
River Rafting in India.
In India, we have many nice places to do the White water rafting, from Zanskar river flowing at high attitude in Leh to Rafting on River Brahmputra in Arunachal Pradesh, which is in the top ten best destinations to do river rafting or go to Uttarakhand, where have relaxing time in sandy river camp and do the rafting on holy Ganges i.e. near Rishikesh. Here you can have grade 4 rapids.

kayaking

How to reach.

If you live in New Delhi or near by, it’s just 5-6 hrs car journey and if taking train from New Delhi, reach to Haridwar, from there its hardly 25 KMs. In Rishikesh, you can stay in cool & comfortable beach resort, like I stayed in the Ganga Beach resort or opt for a nice cozy tent to spend the night.

rafting-in-rapid

Other than rafting, what else?
Apart from rafting, you could learn yoga, have nice massage or spa (Ananda is a famous destination spa but expensive) and do rock climbing, trekking and spend evening by visiting Ram & Laxman Jhoola. Ganges aarti happens at 6-7pm everyday and you would feel so content & relaxed. Don’t forget to have nice meal at Chotiwala restaurant near Ram Jhoola.

cliff-jumping-scene1

I am quite regular to Rishikesh and it was my 2nd time to do the River rafting. I am planning to do rafting on Brahmaputra River some time. But before that I should wash my water phobia in MCD water 😀

Chal Chalein Himachal (Lets go to Himachal)

After having a hard time at work, a break is very important. Not only does it help unwind, it also gives exposure to other parts of the country. We also took a similar break, from the heat of Delhi to the cool weather of Himachal.
Manali, Himachal pradesh, India
Manali-Abode of Manu (Manu, who recreated the human) in Himachal Pradesh, India. This town also has a way to Ladakh via Rohtang Pass. It’s a peaceful place famous for apple orchard and woolen shawls and nice cool excursions.

We started our journey from New Delhi National Highway -21 via Panipat, Chandigarh and Kullu. Taking a Volvo bus has advantages as you could relax in the night, and you would be somewhere in Himachal when you wake up the next morning for having a cup of hot tea. You will reach the city shortly thereafter.
Temples, manali
Shooting in temple

We reached Manali at 11am and after check-in to our hotel (Manali heights, which we found very good) took brunch and cab to see city attractions.
The local attractions, namely Club house, Tibetan Monasteries are just ok type. It is advisable to carry an extra pair of cloth, if you plan to go to Vashisht Hot water springs. Hadimba temple is nice specially for taking a walk around. It is apparently also famous amongst film-makers and we also witnessed shooting of a film when we were there. Manu temple in old Manali is also worth a check-out, to see old homes and walk down on narrow lanes.
Mountains and more

This place and its surroundings have loads to offer in terms of activities like para-gliding and skiing. Solang valley is a must-visit place, do indulge in paragliding other than good sightseeing. And if you are on a long trip, just keep half day time solely for this so that you can do this from greater heights (3-4 hours activity in total).
paragliding in Himachal
The road to Rohtang pass has lots of Nallas (or waterfalls) and you will like to stop there while driving on the broken narrow roads. Once you reach the destination, you can take a walk around, climb the snowy mountains or do skiing. Ginger tea and noodles is a good way to relax after a tiring walk. This place has small local shops for all these. Just beware of Kesar (saffron) and Kasturi seller, who will go all out to con you.
rohtang Pass, Himachal Pradesh
Rohtang Pass, Himachal Pradesh
When we visited, snow was there but not enough to really excite you (particularly if you have seen snow before). But it was more of wholesome experience, the journey that made it interesting.
On the way back, some dynamites were kept to clean up the road and our cab stopped right before that, so that way it was bit real adventurous. While coming down, we stopped at Mandi (which is a small village) and saw sunset.

And yes, before I forget to mention, I must advise you on keeping one day just to explore market and have lazy lunch at Johnson café or Casa Vella café. Both these places are highly recommended to have good food.


Point to keep in mind- don’t buy Chingu (kind of quilt but it is all a fraud) though the locals have pretty interesting story about the same, don’t buy saffron (you can’t get 15gm for Rs. 100 anyway).
Carry enough cash- there are just 2-3 ATMs and they hardly work.
Wake up early- go for walk, have nice food with tea/coffee, do activities- there are many options (trekking, rafting, paragliding, skiing etc)
flowers, Himachal Woman
And yes, don’t forget to carry woolen clothes. It’s cold there in any season.

Start acting. Save earth.

It was World Environment Day on 5th June.

So what special you did, forget about the other day through Every day is earth day.

Did you grow some plants? Save water by not wasting while bathing or cleaning cloths and took a bicycle to go to nearby place and pooled car with office colleagues.
Few simple things can make our earth SIMPLER.

I am not asking about what children will see in future but I am saying what WE will have in present even.
Fuel prices are going high, cooking gas price and electricity bill increasing. Do we really need Air conditioner life every time we step in (home/ office) and step out (Car). So many small things can make big difference.
Think and act. Time is now.

Please take care!

And here, my take on artificially created environment for animal’s survival.

Do we really need a showcase or a real show window to save our earth

Man must feel the earth to know himself and recognize his values…. God made life simple. It is man who complicates it.

Please Take care!

Where were thou.

Ages, yes ages back I used to be a blogger.
Now if I look back I won’t find any blog post of mine written in the past few months. All the words got lost in the busy-ness of day to day life. I would like to mention that because of the database corruption in early 2008, I lost all my blog posts & comments; I tried to retrieve it but those precious comments are still missing.
Life was exhausting yet exciting in those days.

But change is inevitable, and professionally and personally changes happened with me too. Best was my wedding! Knowing someone and then growing old with that one. Ahh. A strange feeling if one thinks on same. Many questions come in wandering mind. But soul mates are made for each other so they don’t grow old with the passing years instead they live the moments as it come.
And to me, he is the one whom I can believe when I don’t want to. He is not always good but he is what he is; a great listener, sensible talker and brilliant mind with a tender heart whom I would cherish throughout life.
After all He is my soul mate.

So back to blogging; I will try to be active. Infact I was reading/skimming all my favorite blog in past. But now I will blog more frequently. At least, I hope so 🙂

Welcome!

What is called halt? When time stops? Life is journey and we all keep on moving; someway or other way.  

2007 is WELCOMING the 2008. And as the New Year is approaching we are pretty excited what would coming year have for us.

Welcome!

Every year has own surprises, and though every day is new we always look forward for new year. Other than New Year, 24th Dec will add one more year in my life!