Friday, November 21, 2014

Anuradha Goyal
Friday, November 21, 2014

Hua Hin – An elitist beach town


Hua Hin is located bang opposite the famous Pattaya beach, that is, if you could swim across the Gulf of Thailand in a straight line. In character too, the two towns stand on the opposite ends – while Pattaya is a hub for mass tourism, Hua Hin is where the nobility of Thailand lived in earlier times and today it’s being promoted by as a premium wedding and honeymoon destination. We were told that the King and Queen of Thailand also live in Hua Hin and not in Bangkok making it a living royal city.


The biggest attraction in Hua Hin besides its beaches is its small but beautiful railway station. In Pale Yellow and red this Railway station gives the feeling of being an ethnic building rather than a mechanical rail-halting place. The most photographed part of this railway station is the Royal Pavilion that is used only by the King and his family that otherwise remains closed. You can see the ubiquitous elephant heads carved in the panels of this pavilion and that too in Yellow – the color of the present King.


Due to the king’s residence Thai Navy secures a large part of the Hua Hin shore and you can see their royal ships guarding the beach around the palace. You can of course stay at beach side resorts that dot the shore or stop by small restaurants for a meal. It is a long beach so you see the vast horizon that is only interrupted by an occasional ship or boat. This sculpture of a mermaid stood by the beach near a restaurant where we had lunch and all the photographers in the group went berserk clicking pictures of it. We stayed at the luxurious Dusit Thani Resort with a small but private beach and an Olympic sized swimming pool that never gets out of the view while you are in the property.


Night Markets are quite common in this part of the world and I strolled through Hua Hin’s night market that happens in one long street of the main market. For those who enjoy seafood, it looked liked a go to place with food on carts, in small shops and in medium sized open restaurants. There were colorful shops that sold souvenirs, garments, footwear and lots of them carried Hua Hin’s stamp on them. It is a pleasure to walk in this market as you see the tourists and shopkeepers interact and yes most of the people hovering in the market did seem to be tourists. I did not see many locals shopping here.


On the other end of shopping is Venezia – a theme-shopping complex with many attractions within the complex including a mini zoo and a 3D museum. An attempt to re-create Venice, it even lets you take Gondola ride in the artificially creates canals. The complex has an entry fees and locals feel that it should be free entry, after all who wants to pay for shopping. Attractions can have the fee for use.


I tried traditional Thai massage at Nicha Health Spa and it was quite an experience. It was a dry massage where the masseur literally stands on top of you and twists and turns around your body. At times I was scared and felt I would not get up from that bed with all my bones intact and had to tell my masseur to stop. Overall after the massage it did feel good as if all the tiredness has been squeezed out of the body. Massage room had a series of beds all around that can be separated by movable curtains and about 20 odd people can take the massage simultaneously.

Go to Hua Hin when you want to have a quite holiday by the beach, away from too many tourists. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Anuradha Goyal
Thursday, November 20, 2014

American Express & MakeMyTrip Launch a Co-branded Credit Card


Pic Courtesy American Express

American Express in partnership with MakeMyTrip - India’s leading online travel portal has launched a new credit card that offers many benefits for the users of the portal ensuring many benefits and rewards for those who travel frequently and do all their travel booking through MakeMyTrip portal. Some highlights include include:

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Anuradha Goyal
Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Colorful furniture of Sankheda



Sankheda is a small village located about 45 kms South-East of Vadodara. This is a usual Gujarati / Indian village but for the fact that many families here produce a certain type of wooden furniture that is made only here. Of course it goes by the name Sankheda woodwork – and its distinction lies in the use of lacquer for giving it a shining finish. Well, lacquer is no longer used and has been commonly replaced by the enamel paint that is not only easier to work with but has given the artisans here a larger range of colors and color combinations to work on.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Anuradha Goyal
Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sunday Shot - Indian Jezebel Butterfly

Indian Jezebel Butterfly
Indian Jezebel Butterfly also known as common Jezebel (Delias eucharis), sucking the juice of wildly growing Lantana Flower. It is one of the most common butterflies seen in India. Red, Yellow, Black and White colors form beautiful and distinctive patterns on the wings of the butterfly.

Lantana flowers are well known to attract wide varieties of butterflies. If you want to have your own private butterfly garden, let the Lantana plants grow around you and butterflies will soon follow. You do not need to do much to grow Lantana - it is a wild flowers and pretty much fends for itself.

Captured at Caranzalem, Goa. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Anuradha Goyal
Friday, November 14, 2014

Review: Baker's Studio, Baga, Goa


Couple of weeks back, some of us Goa bloggers were invited by Baker's studio for lunch. They are located in the famous Tito's Lane in Baga amidst an area that belongs to the resident tourists of Goa. Most of us who live in Goa hardly visit this area, so it was a nice change to visit this area and feel the city as tourists see it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Anuradha Goyal
Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Rendezvous with Indus Valley Civilization at Lothal



Once upon a time life in Indian subcontinent flourished on the banks of River Saraswati. Ancient urban centers with well-planned cities are still being discovered in and around Saraswati and its tributaries for more than a century now. Every site adds to the mystique and scale of the civilization. At the southern end of this civilization in gulf of Khambat, in the village called Lothal lies a dockyard that was used to trade through the sea routes with other civilizations.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Anuradha Goyal
Sunday, November 09, 2014

Sunday Shot - Cattle Egret in-flight

Cattle Egret in-flight
Cattle Egret can be spotted in the paddy fields, water bodies and true to their names- near the cattle, specially the buffaloes very commonly across India. 

In-flight they look pretty with their pristine white bird wings flapping in a rhythm as their yellow beak points towards the direction of flight, sailing across short distances. 

This one was captured over the paddy fields of Taleigao, Goa

Friday, November 07, 2014

Anuradha Goyal
Friday, November 07, 2014

Review: Divan’s Bungalow Ahmedabad


Whenever I plan the trip, there is an attempt to see if I can stay in the older parts of the city – as I have always lived in new areas of most cities I lived in. There is also a desire to live like the locals and that is why I champion the cause of couchsurfing so much. Lately I have seen the concept of home stays where you stay with a local family. And then there is Neemrana that offers you an experience of being an elite in the destination that you are visiting.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Anuradha Goyal
Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Pavagadh Hill, Gujarat



Champaner & Pavagardh are the words – I always heard together. It was one of the few UNESCO world heritage sites of India that I had not visited, so I planned my Gujarat trip to cover this and the newly included Rani ki Vav. It is only when I reached the site, some 45 kms from Vadodara, I realized that Champaner is the village below the Pavagadh hill. The monuments are of course scattered all over the hill, on the foothill and on top of the hill. You can hear and read as many myths, legends and stories about this place as the number of sources you access.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Anuradha Goyal
Sunday, November 02, 2014

Sunday Shot: Indian Pond Heron


Indian Pond Heron in-flight
One of the most common birds of India, the Pond Heron can be spotted just around any water body or even fields.

This bird was flying across the man made pathway amidst the fields at Taleigaon in Goa, not too far from our home here.

Pointed beak, sharp yellow eyes and the flapping feathers make it lovely to watch them fly.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Anuradha Goyal
Friday, October 31, 2014

Go Goa XXIII Naval Aviation Museum, Goa



Tucked away in a corner, near Bogmalo beach at Vasco, is this unique museum dedicated to flying machines of the naval forces. I am not an army / military / war person. I often skip the armory galleries in museums, but this one promised to be more of a display of technology and more importantly an introduction to a subject I knew nothing about.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Anuradha Goyal
Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Sun Temple Modhera or मोधेरा का सुर्य मंदिर


कर्क रेखा पे
अपने ईष्ट देव की और
मुहँ बाये कमल पट्ट पे खड़ा 
मोधेरा का सुर्य मंदिर

पुष्कारणी में माला से
गूँथे हैं छोटे बड़े मंदिर
जिनकी छवि से हैं खेलते
जल जन्तु कच्छ और मच्छ

सभा मंडप है समेटे
कथाएँ राम और कृष्ण की
जन्म से मृत्यु की यात्रा
मधी है बाहिरी वर्ग पे

कोख रहित गर्भ गृह
कथा कहता प्रहारों की
जो खंडित तो कर गये, पर
क्षीण ना कर पाए तेज को

आठों दिशाओं में
दिशा देवो का वास है
शिलाओं में समाया
संगीत नृत्य उल्हास है

पुष्पावती है जिसे सहलाती
अपनी जल धार से
सूर्य जैसे हो प्रहरी
अपने इस प्रतिबिंब का 

A Rough translation....

On the Tropic of Cancer
Looking towards its deity
On the inverted lotus
Stands the Sun Temple of Modhera

In the Stepwell, stung like pearl string
are big and small 108 temples
With whose shadow 
play the fish and turtle

Assembly hall treasures 
stories of Rama & Krishna
Journey from birth to death
is carved on outer periphery

Womb-less sanctum tells
story of the invasions
that left it in ruins, but
could not diminish its aura

In the eight directions sit
guardian deities of each direction
each stone celebrates life
through music and dance

Pushpavati nurtures it
with its waters
The sun looks over it
its own reflection on earth.


PS: After a long time was inspired to express myself in poetry rather than usual prose. Tell me how you liked the change. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Anuradha Goyal
Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sunday Shot: Rose Ringed Parakeet


Rose Ringed Parakeet
Its harvest season in Goa. In the paddy fields of Taleigao near our house, this Rose Ringed Parakeet picks up a strand of the crop from the fields as if saying - this is my share of the booty.

One of the pleasures of living in between the sea and the fields. You can see bunch of these fellows in your backyard.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Anuradha Goyal
Friday, October 24, 2014

Sahastralinga Talav, Patan, Gujarat



Just behind the gorgeous Rani ki Vav lies the Sahastralinga Talav – a structure if intact would have been equally if not more gorgeous. It pre-dates the Rani ki Vava and was another water management structure on the banks of river Saraswati and drew water from one of its canals and not only stored it but also did the water filtering / cleaning process.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Anuradha Goyal
Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Andhra Avdentures XVII : Yadgirigutta – Abode of Narsimha Swamy


On the outskirts of Hyderabad lie many small gems to be explored.  Yadgirigutta is one of them and I visited it almost towards the end of my stay in Hyderabad along with Kolanpak and Bhongir.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Anuradha Goyal
Friday, October 17, 2014

Legacy of A Queen - Rani Ki Vav


Top View of Rani ki Vav
Rani ki Vav – an ornate step well that a queen had built in the memory of her husband, is the 2014 UNESCO world heritage site entry from India. There are many step wells in this area, one right behind this big step well, but all of them put together cannot match the grandeur of Rani Ki Vav. It is not only magnificent in terms of size but also the decorations that make it as much a work of art as a place of utility value. Whole structure is below the ground level, so when we were approaching it after buying the tickets, what we could see was green manicured lawns with pathways leading to a kind of hole in the ground.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Anuradha Goyal
Monday, October 13, 2014

Popular Gujarat – First Impressions

Sun Temple, Modhera


I have been to Ahmedabad a few times in last 15 years or so, mostly on business trips, but never beyond it in the state of Gujarat. The colorful visuals and the stories of the state always enchanted me. This time when I had the time to plan a trip to Gujarat, I chose to do the popular Gujarat with circuits around Ahmedabad and Vadodara – the two big cities in the state. I spent a week travelling around these two cities, soaking in the Gujarati landscape and its culture, trying to understand its entrepreneurial spirit and the business minded people. 


Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Anuradha Goyal
Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Malaysia Marvels XV: KL Bird Park



Located in the heart of the city, Kuala Lumpur’s bird park takes you amidst the nature as soon as you buy the ticket to it. A sprawling campus divided into zones, some of which let the birds fly free while others that restrict them to certain areas, needs quite some time if you are a bird watcher. Even if you are not, the walk in aviary will put you in awe, as you may have never been so close to some of the flying beauties.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Anuradha Goyal
Thursday, October 02, 2014

Ramayana Paintings from Royal Palace, Bangkok


King of Thailand is called Rama - so its not surprising that the walls of the Royal Palace have murals depicting the story of Ramayana.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Anuradha Goyal
Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Review: Devaaya Ayurveda & Nature Cure Centre, Goa


"This is my 4th stay at Devaaya and love coming here every year. Earlier I used to come for 2 weeks, now I come for 3 weeks. This is like staying in one quite corner of the world that lets me spend time with myself, while I tend to my body, mind and soul." Says a middle-aged woman who lives in Nottingham, United Kingdom as we chat over lunch overlooking the swimming pool and Mandovi backwaters. We are at the Devaaya Ayurveda & Nature Cure Centre at Divar Island in Goa.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Anuradha Goyal
Sunday, September 28, 2014

Go Goa XXI– Bigfoot Museum, Loutlim


This museum is an attempt to re-create the Goan village seen as it used to be. There are various household, religious places, marketplaces and occupations depicted spread over a hill. Let me walk you through some of the key attractions of this museum.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Anuradha Goyal
Friday, September 26, 2014

10 Years of Blogging


Today, I complete 10 years of blogging. What a journey it has been!

Pausing at this milestone to look back and look ahead, sharing some of my thoughts.

World is divided in three parts – one I have lived in and I know intimately, the one I have visited and is like a friend and the one I am yet to visit and is still a mystery no matter how much I read or heard about it. When someone says the name of the place – my mind visualizes the map of the place in two colors – visited and not visited before the conversation begins.

Travel = Trust - When I reflect on what travel does to people, based on my travels and based on numerous couchsurfers that I hosted at my home, I realize the biggest ROI of travel is Trust. Travel establishes trust among strangers. It brings humanity together by establishing understanding about each other. When you visit someone you come back with a bond and it is nearly impossible to hate people you know. Take a minute and think about all the places you have visited and compare them to the perception of places you are yet to visit. I owe the pleasures of my travel to the people who guarded me when I needed security, who told their life stories to me, who shared a laugh and sometimes food with me - always building a bond of trust.

We are more similar than we think - Differences across geographies and cultures exist on the surface – the way we look, the way we dress, what we eat and what language we speak. Scratch the surface and we all go through the same rigmarole of life – our emotional journeys are not very different. Sources of frustrations can be different, but our joys come from more or less the same sources.

Discovering Art, History & Art History - I was a typical science and technology student and do not remember anything else that I studied throughout my student days. It is my travels that introduced me to the world of art, history and art history. It started with observation that led to curiosity that took me to reading about the art and history. In time, I took small courses in art history and now I am an eternal student of ancient Indian Art history. I do not think I am capable enough to write about it yet, but whenever I have attempted a post or two on Indian Arts, the response has been amazing and I hope to do it more often. 

Living a dream - Blogging connected me to so many diverse worlds both in real and virtual world. I meet people who are unlike me from various walks of life. I receive e-mails from all corners of the world – appreciating, admiring, connecting and most of all telling me that I have managed to touch people I may never meet. In the offline world, people have acknowledged being aware of my work and more importantly my thoughts. Could I have asked for more? I can only express my gratitude to all those whom I met on the way and e-way. Traveling, reading and writing and living in a place of your choice - is that not living a dream.

It was totally a road untraveled when I began as blogging itself was a nascent space. 10 years later, I am a part of a thriving tribe called Travel Bloggers. And as the cliché goes – Most exciting time for bloggers are yet to come.


PS: If you have not noticed already – the blog has a new web address – www.IndiTales.com and a new video channel.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Anuradha Goyal
Monday, September 22, 2014

Go Goa XX : Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary - A walker's paradise



Located at the southern edge of the Goa, bordering Karnataka, this lesser known wild life sanctuary is a nature walker’s delight.  It cuts you off from the mundane world and surrounds you with sheer greenery amidst flowing water almost everywhere.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Anuradha Goyal
Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho, Bangkok, Thailand



Wat Pho – the largest Wat or temple in Thailand is home to the wonderful and giant gold plated reclining Buddha statue. I had a very hurried visit to this Wat, which is actually a complex with many things to offer and many interesting structures inviting you. In the absence of leisurely time, I decided to spend time with the Buddha who is getting ready for his Mahaparinirvana in all his glory. You are not allowed with your shoes on inside the chamber of Buddha, but the funny part is you are not even allowed to keep it out, Instead you are provided with shoulder bags in which you must carry the shoes with you. It defies my logic of why shoes should be kept out but as they say ‘do in Rome as the Romans do’, I carried on.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Anuradha Goyal
Friday, September 12, 2014

Thoseghar Falls – Satara, Maharashtra



Thoseghar Waterfalls were the best part of our trip to Satara and Kaas.  The roaring falls vie for the attention of both your eyes and ears as you stand on the viewing platform.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Anuradha Goyal
Sunday, September 07, 2014

Hellfire Pass Memorial – Thailand


The tourist circuit in Western Thailand bordering Myanmar or Burma is centered on the historic Burma – Thailand rail link that was built during Word War II by the Japanese forces. The story is simple – Japan wanted to reach India with its war material and the route via sea was risky and they wanted to reach via a road route. So they decided to build a 400+ kms of rail link and they wanted to build it fast. They started work on rail link at both ends in Southern Burma and in Thailand and the two links met in Oct 1943 at Konkoita in Thailand. Today about 130 kms of this rail link is still operational between Non Pladuk and Namtok. Majority of it was destroyed during the World War II itself when allied forces air raided the area.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Anuradha Goyal
Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Kaas Plateau - A Valley of Flowers


Kaas Plateau is also called the valley of flowers – Maharashtra’s answer to Uttarakhand’s famous valley of flowers. Both the valleys bloom around the same time during late monsoons season in India i.e in the months of August and September.  While the later requires you to trek through the tough Himalayan terrain after reaching the foothills, you can drive right up to the Kaas plateau that lies on one of the many hills of the city of Satara.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Anuradha Goyal
Saturday, August 30, 2014

Review: Baba's Wood Cafe, Panaji


I have been in Goa for good 8 months now but have hardly tried eating out and lot of it has to do with the fact that I am vegetarian and Goa is primarily known for its sea food. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Anuradha Goyal
Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Bridge over River Kwai, Kanchanaburi, Thailand


There are places that have historic stories in their wraps and its takes a filmmaker to unravel them and present it to the world. I saw this phenomenon in Schindler’s museum in Poland and now in Kanchanaburi province of Thailand. Film Bridge over River Kwai brought the world focus on to this small bridge – a part of a historic rail link built during World War II. Though the film was shot in Sri Lanka, the place got its due with the blockbuster film.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Anuradha Goyal
Friday, August 22, 2014

Go Goa XIX: Walking with Birds in Maina, Curtorim


One fine morning while Goa was still waiting for the rains we walked through the narrow streets of quaint Maina village close to better know Raia and Curtorim. It is a typical Goan village with narrow roads passing through the paddy fields. While the fields look like a green carpet on earth, the blue sky provides the contrast and the clouds here and there move around to provide the eternal change. Hills Stand on the horizon as if guarding the fields. Coconut trees loom on here and there. Water forms natural ponds and attracts many birds.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Anuradha Goyal
Sunday, August 17, 2014

Thailand’s New Latitude Wines


East is exotic for various reasons, but wine is not a part of those reasons. So when we were told we are driving out of Hua Hin to do some wine tasting, my curiosity went up by a few notches. The road leading to Hua Hin Hills Vineyard was deserted and passed through many fields, hillocks that eventually gave way to rolling hills forming layers of peaks and valleys.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Anuradha Goyal
Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Go Goa XVIII: Budbudi Tal aka The Bubble Lake, Netravali, Goa


Clap and the lake bubbles, is the famous legend associated with this tiny lake that actually looks like a small temple pond with a structure standing in the middle of it.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Anuradha Goyal
Thursday, August 07, 2014

Tiger Temple, Kanchanaburi, Thailand



I have never been this up close and personal with tigers, getting within a few centimeters of them. Some of my fellow travelers even patted them and played with them, I did not have the courage, but after a while I was comfortably moving around with many tigers tied to various trees in an open dusty ground. Standing there I realized the difference between reading and hearing about some experiences and actually being a part of them. I was scared and excited at the same time. Some instinct gave me the courage to stand there with ease and click pictures and videos, may be it was the chains around the necks of these big cats or was it the volunteers in shining pink color or the monk who was treating them like children and playing with them. I did go a bit white every time they opened their mouth and showed those long sharp teeth sometimes to yawn and sometimes to make a bit of noise. At the same time, when I saw their movements being restricted by the chains around their neck, it felt sad. I felt an empathy for them with an impulse to open their chains.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Anuradha Goyal
Saturday, August 02, 2014

Thailand - Almost First Impressions


I was in Thailand exactly after 15 years. While standing in the Visa on Arrival queue I was flipping through pages of my passport and realized in 1999 I had traveled to Thailand exactly on the same dates 21-27th July – weird co-incidence. That was when I still working in the corporate world for a flamboyant American company that took us around the city and on cruises over a weekend. This time I was on a trip on the Invitation of Tourism Authority of Thailand. Kanchanaburi, Tiger Temple, Bridge of River Kwai, Hua Hin and some classic Bangkok were on the itinerary this time. So here are some near first impressions from the trip:

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Anuradha Goyal
Sunday, July 27, 2014

Go Goa XVII: Pre-historic Rock Art, Pansoimol, Goa


I came to know about these rock art carvings at the Goa State Museum and had put it on my to be visited list, but it was an article in the newspaper with pictures of this rock art that made me get up and drive down to this rock by the river Sharawati and admire them first hand. It is a long drive from Panaji  - good 70+ kms in the southeast direction. We were thankfully staying at Arco Iris and the drive was about 30 kms from there, but since we were searching for this it took us almost an hour to reach the place. Till the village of Rivona and Colomb, we could follow a straight road when a small hand painted board on the right directed us to take a right turn. After this we were on a road that was not kuchha but it was not pucca either. After following some fallen ASI boards we reached a dead end and all we could see was a small rivulet and a thatched hut there. We got down and a man in tomato red T-shirt stepped out wearing a welcome smile almost like the one you expect from a cast away when he gets to see a human being after a long time. He was the ASI guard for the site and we crossed his office cum hut to reach the huge rock, where his own cloths were spread out to dry.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Anuradha Goyal
Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Review – Arco Iris, Curtorim, Goa


Curtorim is a small village off the main city of Margao in South Goa, almost touching the backwaters of Zuari River. Unlike villages of North Goa, South Goa villages still remain with the native population more or less. So, you see big houses from bygone era in different states of conservation. Some have been well maintained, some constructed afresh and some make you feel you have walked into the 19th CE. As we were driving towards Curtorim, I wondered how it would be have a house restored to experience the erstwhile living and Arco Iris turned out to be the perfect reply – a majestic house in lime yellow color with wide pillared corridor running all around it and a patio to sit and admire the sheer nature in front of it. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Anuradha Goyal
Thursday, July 17, 2014

Padmanabhapuram Palace, Fort & Town


This huge wooden palace – in fact the biggest wooden structure in Asia is an erstwhile palace of the kings of Travancore who ruled from here between 1552 -1790 CE that includes the rule of its famous king Martand Varma of the dynasty. Today it technically falls in the state of Tamil Nadu and can be seen on the way if you are visiting Kanyakumari from Trivandrum. It is still managed by the Kerala circle of ASI as historically and heritage wise it belongs to Tranvancore state that is now a part of Kerala.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Anuradha Goyal
Saturday, July 12, 2014

Go Goa XVI: Reis Magos Fort


If I could swim and cross the Mandovi river, just off my home in Goa, Reis Magos lies on the other bank of it, but it took me good 6 months to drive to this quite fort on the edge of North Goa overlooking Panjim and the commerce on Mandovi. 

A bow tie shaped fort has had quite a journey since it was first erected towards the end of 15th CE. Standing on a steep hillock it overlooks the vast expanse of Arabian Sea. A perfect location to keep an eye on the incoming vessels and that was the purpose that this hill was fortifies. Today though it provides a beautiful vantage point to get a top view of the sea that lets you feel its vastness while the roaring sound of waves hitting the walls below remind you the power it holds within itself. From the tiny bastions that are now aesthetically protected by thick glass sheets you can feel the sea like nature’s light and sound show. Height is such that even the birds fly below your eye level – a treat for bird watchers I guess.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Anuradha Goyal
Monday, July 07, 2014

Go Goa XV: Celebrating Monsoons with Sao Jao



Come third week of June and the Goans are ready to jump in the well – literally. No, they are doing it for any wrong reasons, but to fish out the gifts hidden there on the occasion of Sao Jao – the festival that celebrates the feast of St John the Baptist. The wells are full of water around this time of the year and people enjoy jumping in the wells, in rivers or just dancing in the pouring rains. It could well be the rain festival of Goa. It happens in almost all villages in Goa around their wells, rivers, canals or ponds. In the more urban areas, swimming pools or artificially created ponds suffice for the purpose. Village of Siolim is famous for its Sao Jao celebrations as it hosts a boat festival as well, and this is where I went to see the festival.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Anuradha Goyal
Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Go Goa XIV: Goa Chakra - A tribute to the Wheel

Intricately Carved Wooden Wheel
Goa Chakra is a part Goa Chitra Museum with a huge hall dedicated to carriages from various eras and from various states of India. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Anuradha Goyal
Friday, June 27, 2014

Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Thiruvananthapuram


This temple dominated the public memory across the country for the astonishing amount of gold that was found in its age-old vaults. The images created of the vaults jostled in my mind as I walked to this temple from the main road along with the story of the kings of Travancore who consider themselves the servant of the Lord Padmanabhaswamy here. The dark wood palace stands right next to the temple.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Anuradha Goyal
Sunday, June 22, 2014

Is it worth that Picture?


I took the above picture at Isle of Wight in Scotland way back in 2003. I had just bought my first digital camera and this was my first trip after I got that toy in my hand. I was looking at the cliffs and such clear blue waters for the first time in my life. I was excited to say the least. To take this picture I lied down on my stomach on a slanting rock. One small slip and I would have been history. The reason that lived to tell the tale can only be attributed to my good luck and some divine forces of nature that did not give me that slight push.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Anuradha Goyal
Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Go Goa XIII - Caranzalem beach, Just past Sunset

River Mandovi flows through the capital city of Goa -Panjim or Panaji and merges into the Arabian sea near Miramar beach. The U shaped land here extends from Aquada Fort area on northern tip to the Raj Bhavan, Dona Paula beach at the southern tip and is perfect place to witness the placid Mandovi joining the calm Arabian seas at the base. A few yards south from Miramar beach is Caranzalem beach area visited largely by the locals living in the area, like myself. Snippets of this peaceful beach for you:


Just past the sunset, all the sea birds have already left for nests, skies are clear and the beach is serene. Few ships form the background of the seas and the tip of landmass on either side just visible.

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