“Invitation – a class and status judging entity”

#usewastetosave

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Recently, my sister got married and as obvious, invites are must to invite guests and relatives at this auspicious ceremony for a joyful and memorable jiff.

What I have seen since my childhood is that, people spend a lot of money to make their children wedding look luxurious and dreamy. As the part of this lavish journey invites have an important role because in our society people judge your status and also they pre-decide the money they will give as a wedding present ; that all depends on the look of the invites. As a result people end up spending hefty amount on useless- invites.

Even this ribbon is made out of a worn out fabric

But, here I had wanted to revamp the scenario and use the discarded invites to create new invites. Hence I came up with this idea of recycling invites to a beautiful invitation box. As I was the in-charge of this department, I preferred using digital platforms to send invites and also I used postcard size invites made from plantable paper plus invitation boxes to share the happiness.

My only purpose to write this blog post is to

  • Give a DIY idea to create beautiful invites from the waste.
  • I want to promote recycling stuffs, specially among the younger generation because our present and older generation still believe in show-offing their class and orthodoxy.  
  • And, I believe even single person has the ability to contribute in saving our planet, which is fading its charm every seconds.
  • Lets join hands together to bring change. If you use this idea then do use the #usewastetosave .

 “ Sarpa Santhal-The tribe at extreme ”

I was on an unofficial visit to Jharkhand. It’s in my habit now to not be a boredom sack rather I utilize my time to explore the surroundings.

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My friends and few my colleagues had said to me that Jharkhand is a, not happening place but here I would like to say opposite of what they said as I was fortunate enough to find a gem in a mine.

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Tribal Cultural Center, it is a place which showcase the amalgamation of tribal world in contemporary sphere. One need permission to visit this Center. I was lucky enough to get the permission.

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This Cultural Center is a great venture by TATA Steel.  This Center helps tribe to showcase their culture and talent by providing platform and resources. The moment I entered the beautiful arena, I experienced something vehement and unique.

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Can you believe; to experience the tribal culture in this urban chaos? And that too, when we have studied that their existence and their culture is fading away.

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Well, I experienced and witnessed it. I met famous Santhalis, famously known as “Sarpa Santhal Tribe”. Though they have located in several part of India like west-Bengal, Jharkhand, Odisha etc. The one I met were from West-Bengal. I had read it that their contribution during the British Regime could not be explained in words and hence still people remember them as the courageous soul. Also got the tag of “The Tribe at Extreme” because of their heroic participation in need.

In Jharkhand, there are total 32 tribes, which have been recognized till now. Most of them are categorized in 4 types on the basis of cultural types.

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I noticed, that the tribe is amiable but yes only their male head was allowed to interact to the outsider first and when he will find the interaction safe then only he will allow you to interact further. I find tribal women quite hesitant about the interaction but it was a plus point for me as a woman for the first time because both male and female part was comfortable talking to me.

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Sathalis have very unique faces which is common or can say characteristic features of their tribe like dark skinned, wrinkled and stretched skin, thick, curly and black hair. Women wear sari with borders whereas motif in it is most of the time are inspired from Mother Nature like flowers, leaf in fact color of their clothes were also inspired from the beautiful nature. Whereas men matches their bottom attire with of women. Santhali men prefer to wear their traditional clothes like dhoti for all auspicious moments. Santhali Women wear silver anklet. Music was inspired from their residing surrounding, perhaps nature is one of the influencer here hence their dance movement also had kind of patience and dedication in every step. They were vacillating as the branches of trees swing during rainy season. They dance in a particular rhythm and sequence with their musical instrument. The tribe I met was capable of communicating in Hindi, Bengali and also in Santhali. They are also categorized under the settled agriculturists.

The most interesting part was their tribe name i.e. “Sarpa Santhal” which was taken from a musical instrument named Sarpa. The sound of the fixed small copper bells in the instrument was similar to the sound of Rattlesnake void tail.  The quad-pod instrument was made of a particular kind of wood. Had 4 strings/nylon rope attached along with bells at the bottom. So, when they used to pull strings up, one could hear the bells in sync.

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In my perception, it is important to understand our culture or sub-culture before adapting or understanding any other culture. Do, visit places like this which encourages tribal people to face reality with much confidence. Moreover, it broadens the mind set of our young generation to understand our cultural hierarchy and diversity in perfect manner.

Few points to note

  • No entry ticket.
  • Need permission before.
  • Photography and videography allowed with due permission.
  • No food joint available inside.
  • Washrooms are there.

Yana Caves – ಯಾಣ ಗುಹೆಗಳು

Recently , I  ticked a place on my travel wish list which I so wanted to visit and that place is known as Yana Caves. These caves are located in the premise of a small village named Yana in Kumta which is near to Gokarna, Karnataka.

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Monsoon is not that great idea to visit this place but even after much of difficulties I managed to reach to the top. Certainly, I am not going to discuss any history related to this place as this blog is more of based on my observation.

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I was staying at MG rooms, which is near to Gokarna beach and from there the distance of Yana caves is approx. 55 km. So, I opted for a car rather being a nomad as I had only a day to explore places.

 

One can also opt for 3-wheeler auto, they will charge around Rs.1500/- per auto for trip to 4-5 places. In an auto only 3 people are allowed. Going from bus is also an option but for that you need to be punctual all the time because bus services here are quite rare.

 

Things to pack before going to the caves

  • Sunglasses, sunscreen, mosquito & worm repellent , hat, umbrella.
  • Keep raincoat, waterproof bag, plastic sheets, first-aid, lighter, pepper spray and Swiss knife.
  • Wear waterproof shoes, keep extra pair of clothes.
  • Do not wear white.

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Trek to Yana Caves

Entering to this is completely free. Reaching to Yana Caves would not be that easy for few because one has to trek for 2km and then have to walk up 200 steps.

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I assure you this might seems tiring but believe me the arena will keep you showing a magical show every minute. So, it will take around 1 hour maximum to reach to the top. While trekking few things you need to take care of which I am listing down below.

  1. At the very starting of the trek, you will meet a tailless black cat. Do not get into any superstitious story of ghost around . That cat will follow you up for 0.5km just because it knows tourist will offer something to eat.
  2. I was wearing slipper during trek as it was raining as I had no option but I would suggest you guys to wear waterproof hiking shoes and along with that if you could wear leech socks.
  3. Leeches, yes during monsoon especially this place is full of leeches. So, be very careful while going up or down.
  • Walk in the middle of the path as leeches most of the time hide under shade and at the corners.
  • Keep walking, don’t lean on trees, benches etc.
  • Keep small packet of salt along with you. If in case leeches start making love with your blood just sprinkle salt on it, it will immediately leave the surface.
  • Never try to pull out leech, if its already sucking your blood as it can make bleeding unstoppable.
  • You can use leech repellent, sprays.
  • On running water, you can not find leeches so you can be a water baby.
  • Keep first-aid along. Particularly antiseptic.

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One more thing, this trek has only one washroom is available there on half way.

Flora and Fauna

If you are fond of seeing variety of plants and small creatures then go ahead. This place is perfect for the exploration. As on the way to the top I met centipede, cat, snake, worms and obviously leeches. This whole forest is full of mosses, ferns, colocasia, berries and several other useful plant or trees. Do not try to eat any one it as it might be poisonous.

On the top

There are 2 hills one is named Bhairaveshwara Shikhara which is 390 ft in height and the Mohini Shikhara which 90ft in height where Shikhara” means “hill. The first one is open for general public whereas I didn’t see any way to Mohini Hill. At the bottom of Bhairaveshwara hill you will see a self-made Shiv Ling which is present in the Gangodbhava Temple.

Way inside to the cave is through the temple, so if you wish to enter the cave one needs to remove his/her footwear . You need to be very careful while stepping up as surface is full of algae ergo it makes it more slippery and no way to cop.

Rest the cave is not that huge, it will just take around 15-20 minutes to see and capture things. Visit to the temple is incomplete if you will not circle around the same through the caves.

Trekking Down

If you want to sip in tea or coffee at the top or at the starting. Then, there you will find only a shop at the top and in the starting. Be little extra careful when trekking down. I unfortunately visited in monsoon which made trek 70% more dangerous. I had taken great care while putting even a step. A walking stick can help which you can get from the mother nature.

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Overall, It was a really very unique and nice experience to cross several water streams and being a pebble walker. I indeed suggest all to visit this place to make yourself lost in the natural world for a while.

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Extra info-

  • I had a great company whole way, as I was travelling with my family and a very responsible driver named Sachin. So, for all who wants to explore Gokarna in a budget and that too  in your own chariot then you can certainly call Sachin. As he is well- aware of every nook and corner of Gokarna. You can rely on his driving skills too.

 

      Sachin – +91-9481204432 ( You can refer my name Shilpa, if needed)

Mentioned number of this person as many of you have asked me to   keep sharing the information, contacts which can help them too to make their trips more interesting.

  • No telecom network will work here.

Weekend Fun: F9 Go Karting

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This weekend spent so amazingly well. It was in my wish-list to do “Go karting” with my female bunch. So, I landed up at “F9 Go karting” as I had heard good words about the place so, I desperately wanted to know what all this place has to offer me. 

How to reach?

By Metro (Cheapest way)

The nearest metro station is IFFCO chowk , which is on the yellow line towards Huda city. This place is around 1.5-2 km far from the metro station. You can opt for the shared auto,e-rickshaw or can take 3-wheeler. Though the option of cabs are also available from the metro station. Travelling cost would be like Rs.58 (Metro) ,shared auto-10rs/person, e-rickshaw- 20/person and full auto for Rs.50.

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This adventurous space had been established in year 2010. Mr.S.K Tyagi is the sole owner of the place. From the outside this place is creatively made using truck chambers.

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From inside they have nice track, scraps have been used cleverly to make washrooms.

To make experience better I am listing out best things.

Best Things

  • Helmet hygiene- A new term for you? Well I am writing helmet hygiene as this was the first time I saw a Go karting people using shower cap before placing helmet on your head. 10/10 for that. 

  • Skilled and motivating trainer- The crew is actually helpful and they do guide you so well before the race.

  • Height issue sorted- If you are thinking how I am gonna put my feet on paddles as I am too short? Don’t worry they have the right solution to not let your enthusiasm go down.

  • Video and picture- As you gonna be busy in driving, duh then who gonna take picture and videos? Well don’t worry you just need to give your phone to them and tadda they will capture it perfectly.

  • Pocket-friendly- I had searched several apps to get the best price for Go Karting. Trust me they will offer more than your expectation. I had opted for Rs.350 package for 7 laps whereas got 3 laps free as a surprise.
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  • They have restaurant attached to the track- What could be more beautiful than cheering your friends while having sumptuous food. So, don’t forget to be the part of this fun fiesta.
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  • Super easy for non-drivers – Do you have a question of how to drive a go kart as you don’t know driving? chill ! they don’t ask for driving license rather they help you to learn it better as there is no clutch or gear change . Its just about race and brakes. 

I had great conversation with Mr.S.K Tyagi ( owner) , where he shared many information about the place. He is so kind and fun when it comes to the children. He moreover offered us free laps later and also the whole track to get ourselves clicked. 

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Timings for Go Karting is – 1 pm to 10 pm

So, next time when your heart wants to do something new and different on weekends. Don’t hesitate in experiencing the things you never tried before. Like I tried “Go Karting”.

Wedding Cards DIY

“Recycling the invitation of joy”

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Wedding season always bring happiness, excitement also loads of invitation cards at home. Most of times we end up throwing it whereas few prefer to keep it as it has several divinities drawn on it. To deal with the cluster, I have worked on few amazing DIYs like making “Shagun Envelopes” from wedding cards.

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Trust me you can make really beautiful and never seen envelopes .  I have made few envelopes from two wedding cards ( see in the pictures ).

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In India, These Shagun envelopes are used for giving cash as a shagun means blessings for happy future. Particularly on any auspicious occasion, these lifafas ( Envelopes) are used. Hope you will find this way of using invitation cards interesting.

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Indian Girls On The Portugal Land

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Gigantic waves of aggravation and woebegone life had whipped us hard . It was the right time to revitalize our subfusc souls. We four women decided to head to the smallest state of India that is Goa.

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This time I opted for Duronto train to travel till Madgaon from Delhi. We got the train from the Nizamuddin Railway Station.  After the 2 days long journey we reached Madgaon at 4:00 in the morning .

 

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As we all had wanted to save money, we opted for the state minibuses rather hiring a cab till Arambol, north Goa. The cab charges around Rs.1900-2500 (Depends on how rich you look). We got in a small crowded bus till Kadamba bus depot. The bus stand is opposite to the Madgaon railway station main exit gate.

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Travelling in bus could be tiring

How to reach Arambol from Madgaon Railway Station by state buses. In total we changed 4 buses.From Madgaon Railway Station Bus stand we traveled to Kadamba bus stand we got bus from there to Panaji bus stand to get a bus to Mapusa then from there to Arambol. where we had booked the cottage.

Other Important Information

Money asked by cab driver-Rs.1900

Madgaon to Kadamba- Rs10 / person

Kadamba to Panjim – Rs.40 / person

Panjim to Mapusa- Rs.15 / person

Mapusa to Arambol- Rs.25 / person

The total time consumed in traveling in buses was around 3 hours. I would suggest if you can manage to travel by bus , do travel this way. Trust me you will save a lot. We saved Rs.1500.

We had made our booking for 5 days with the “Arambol Cottages” located in Arambol . This cottage allows you to stay at budget, moreover it is only 0.5km from the beach. Spotting beautiful birds, Gray Langurs are common around the cottage. We landed in  the cottage around 9:00 am. We decided to rest a bit, then we hired a car . Hiring a car could be a task if you haven’t booked it afore as people will charge you maniacally. We were blessed to have a helpful, responsible and a friendly cottage owner named Upender. He helped us to get an Alto car for Rs.1000/day, additional charges of petrol was on us.

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From left to right- Anita, Ruchi, Upender, Me, Jyotsna

Things to notice, before hiring a vehicle

  • Check for scratches,oils,documents in front of the owner.
  • Check for tyres as most of the roads are heated, uphill, downhill so grooves matter.
  • Check for fuel provided by them. (Do return vehicle with the same amount of fuel)
  • Look for a vehicle which has great mileage & less fuel consumption. ( Like I opted for Alto 800).
  • Do not forget to bargain. ( I bargained from Rs.1200 to Rs.1000)

Around 1:00 pm we headed to see Fort Aguada, which was 32 km from our place. The roads are curvy , might be fun during day time but drive carefully in the night.

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Fort Aguada

Fort Aguada has a parking lot for vehicles for free. Fort Aguada is located on Sinquerim beach. This fort is divided into two floors one upper part is where lighthouse is located and other dungeon part where Portuguese ships used to rest ( Closed for public). This Portugal fort was strategically built near the mouth of Mandovi river which was meant to look after the Arabian Sea. The meaning of Aguada is Jal/ Water storer because during 17th century ships used to come here to filled there drinking containers with fresh water. Inside the premise of the Fort Aguada , you will find a light house which was used to store around  2,000,000 gallons of water also.

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This fort shows one of the best living example of Portugal military architecture. Made of common stone to be found in Goa that is the laterite stone. Authorities have closed the entry inside the lighthouse for public. 

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Additional Information about the fort aguada

  • It is open all day of the week from 9:30am-6:00pm.
  • No tickets required for the entrance.
  • Photography and Videography allowed for free.
  • Carry water along.

Arambol Beach in the night

We came back to the Arambol around 7:30 pm. We all decided to explore local shops and have dinner somewhere. The moment we reached beach it was all dark. If you are fond of peace and least human activities, then do visit this beach. We found one shack there , who was offering candle night dinner on the beach. I had lemonade and veg noodles there. Rest, i did not like the place in the night.

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Additional Tips

  • Do not carry much cash.
  • Do carry something to save yourself irrespective of gender.

Second Day

Next morning, wasn’t a good morning for me as I had bout of dehydration, fever and hence ORS was my wandering partner. Still I pushed myself as for the rest of mates ,it was the first time visit to Goa and all were dependent on me to roam around. So, on second day we decided to explore Harvelam Cave , Arvalem/Harvalem Waterfall, Tiracol Fort and Ferry ride.

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Harvalem Waterfalls

I had not wanted my travel mates to experience , explored Goa  Rather i had wanted them to see bit unexplored. So, I chose this place. This waterfall is located in quite an aloof place in Sanquelim, in a short distance from Bicholim town. Use Arvalem instead Harvalem to ask the way to this location. This place is easily reachable through car and bike .From Arambol it is 48 km far. This place for sure give a sense of happiness.

 

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This waterfall is surrounded by the great topiary. The height of the waterfall is around 50m. Near this waterfall you will find soul releasing temple named Rudreshwari Temple and also Haravalem caves. We did not get the chance to see the caves properly because renovation work was happening at that time.

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Additional info

  • No washroom there or around.
  • Do not cross the water from where the red band commence.
  • Do not waste a whole day to see this, add in list if on the way.
  • No entrance charge.
  • No entry before sunrise and after sunset.

Tiracol Fort

The distance between Arvalem caves to the Tiracol fort was great, it was almost 62 km. After driving for an hour , we reached fort Tiracol around 4 pm. The fort has been converted into a beach heritage hotel.

 

Few areas inside are open for general public till 5 pm. The fort is famous for its view of Tiracol river estuary. Inside this 17th century made fort you will find a church named Holy Trinity/ St.Andrew Church ( not open for general public) and big statue of Lord Jesus named St.Andrew. The whole place offers serenity.Rooftop- Tavern Restaurant Lounge Bar and Verandah – Garden Cafe( Al Fresco ) are there. This top of the cliff situated fort is a must visit because of the splendid view it offers.

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View from the top of the Tiracol Fort

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Church St. Andrew and Statue of St.Andrew

It is one amongst those fort which is considered as the pride of Goa because this architectural piece aided in freedom of Goa. You will also find a village on the way named village Tirakhol.

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  • All uphill and downhill drive.
  • Locally people call it “Terekhol Quila/Fort”.
  • Timing – 9am to7pm.
  • Take a ferry to reach here.

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Ferry Ride

We were finding way on the GPS to go back to Arambol and internet left us on the verge of sinking our quad-craft. We landed at a ferry station.

 

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Luckily, we got ferry who had carried us along with our car to drop us the other side of the tiracol river which opens up towards mapusa. Which actually chopped half our way & time to reach Arambol. For the ride you can take ticket from the ticket counter.

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Car having ferry ride

Additional information

  • Park & take out your vehicle from the ferry, only if you are sure you can. Otherwise take help.
  • Charges for 4 people+car – Rs.10 ( isn’t unbelievable? ).

Third Day

Again, I was suffering from the high fever but again it was the time to push myself to keep all curious cookies energize. Today was the day for us to go for the water sports. I opted Anjuna Beach for this. Though I did not go for any water sports as I am hydrophobic and also I had fever. While waiting for them , i rested my feet at a shacks under the shade of umbrella placed ashore the sea.

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I was shattered to see the condition of sand there at Anjuna. It was all black and plastic was everywhere. I collected many plastic bottles, straws  thrown by tourists and localites.

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Black oily sand and plastic

I wish i could ban water sports and plastics  as its making water and sand polluted.

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Additional Info

  • Better to park vehicle in the parking area.
  • Do not hesitate in asking shacks and hotel for loo.
  • Do not forget to bargain for water sports.
  • Do not support using plastic and throwing them on beach.

Disco-Deewane

We came back to the cottage to adorn ourselves to go to the club. We had several options in calangute but we chose Mamboz. Before entering to the club we thought of ambling around the beach. As we were women, people asked us several question like

  • How much do you charge?
  • Are you free?
  • Do you wanna see, what my bottom has to offer you?

How shameful but I believe in fisting such bouncing jerks.

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Quad pic at Mamboz Club

I did not like the clubs much. First because of the music, second because of the interfering club workers. We were in Mamboz till 2:30am. Afterwards we headed towards our cottage. Caught by the police also as they doubted on us that we are keeping drugs with us. But unfortunately they did not find any.

Additional info

  • Girls entry are free mostly in all clubs.
  • Be careful, as people tend to mix stuffs in your drink. ( It actually happens)
  • Do not leave eve-teasers at all.
  • One person has to be not boozing if you have vehicle to drive or ride.

Fourth Day

I personally had great interest in seeing Dudhsagar waterfalls. So, this day was booked to see this waterfall which was around 100 km from Arambol. As I was sick, I asked my cottage owner cum boon companion-Upender, to take us there as he was the only person who we could  trust. Moreover, he agreed on taking us there.

 

I drove till Mapusa, from there Upender took the charge. It took around 2:30 hrs to reach there. Thankfully Upender was aware of every nook and corner which helped us in reaching there in less time. Going to the falls will cost you Rs.550/person ( life jacket, cab charges and entry charge)

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Steps to follow on reaching there

  • Park your vehicle in the parking.
  • Book seats in a cab provided by Goa Tourism ( Ticket available at the nearby counter) .
  • Rent Life SAving JAckets.
  • Be quick in sitting in the cab to grab seat of your choice.
  • Further entering into the Dudhsagar fall region you have to pay Rs.250/person.
  • They will give you 1 hr to have fun.

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This place i found over crowded, people were drunk there. You need to be careful before stepping in water as stones are slippery and water is quite deep. This waterfall provide a view of beautiful stream falling straight from 1070 ft height. During monsoon the gush of the fall is more mesmerizing says locals. Monkeys are nuisance there. So, do not carry anything to eat and drink as they surely gonna take all away or might attack .

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In return, we all had food at one of the nearby restaurant. Then we headed to see Basilica of bom jesus, Church of St. Francis and  Dauna PAula.

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Dauna Paula

Though it’s  a very famous tourist spot in south goa. We reached there around 7pm. All markets and the view were closed. Still you can spot localite fishing and catching squids, fishes etc. Rest boat lights on the surface of the sea create glitter effect on water. Afterwards we had dinner at chaperem. Then we headed back to the cottage.

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Fifth Day

The worst day of my trip. As i was so ill that i couldn’t  even get up from the bed. Whereas rest of the girls decided to roam around on scooty. I chose to be at cottage to sleep and take great care of mine.

I woke around 4 pm, then I decided to explore Mandrem Beach. I took help of my cottage manager to reach Mandrem. I walked straight to the bus stand. People call Mandrem beach as “Maandrem” .

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Though bus dropped me 1.5 km ahead of exact location. A local boy helped me by giving lift to the beach.

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I sat there silently , captured few creatures then as the sun was setting down fever was rising.

 

I kept waiting for my friends in cold but after 1 :30 hours of wait they end up saying they couldn’t find the way. On the way back I spotted local market and restaurants .  

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Around 8pm, we had dinner at a local junk food halt. Then we headed to the Dabolim Airport by booking a cab for Rs.1500. We had a very nice driver named Angelo, along with us. Who safely dropped us to the airport.

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I am still suffering from the bad health condition. Whereas I am utilizing this time in creating list of the places to visit this year. Hence more blogs are on the way.

 

” Little Tibet “

( It is an audio blog ; to let those experience words who have mastered the art of hearing. Link – https://soundcloud.com/mataktibum/little-tibet  )

 

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When you bunk a day with your best mate, then that day surely becomes a memorable day. On June 29,2017 all of the sudden I decided to visit “Little Tibet” in Delhi, famously known as “Majnu kaTilla”.

What’s special there?

  • – A different culture to experience.
  • – Shopping
  • – Tibetan Food.
  • – Photographic elements.
  • – Peace at monastery.

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How to reach?

Metro is the best mode of transportation to reach here. Get down at Vidhan Sabha metro station then take rickshaw or e-rickshaw for Rs.20 for two people till the foot over bridge connecting to Tibet monastery.

I had only one hour to do quick ‘snap and roam’.So, I entered from the main monastery gate , though thought of capturing a lot of things but I did not as sometimes you just need to enjoy atmosphere.

There ,I tried “Lhaphing” urf cold noodles .Actually available at many small stalls and shops there.

It is a very yummy Tibetan street food. Available in two varieties that is dry or soup dishes of it. The price varies from Rs.20 to Rs.30.

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The scent snake had started attacking my nostrils hard; simultaneously was activating my taste buds too. I headed to Tee-Dee, favourite spot since 2011.

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Ordered fruit beer, tingmo (Tibetan bread) and Tee-Dee special non-veg beef choupsey. Well, at the end it was the time to score food. Tingmo is a round traditional bread was soft and was moist as apt hence 9/10.This time the choupsey was low on quality and taste hence I would give 6/10.The total bill was of Rs.270.

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While crossing lanes and observing things I landed up in a garden full of tibetan prayer flags.It was all colourful. You all must have guessed now, that I took quite many pictures there.

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To go back to the metro station, you can find many autos ( for Rs.30) and rickshaws for ( for Rs.20/2 persons) and e-Rickshaws ( for Rs.10/person) .

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My quick ‘Snap and Roam’ time ended up soon …. ❤