Monday, January 22, 2007

Places to be (that I know of, of course :P)

Ok, so here is my list of places -in Southern and Western India- to visit, before you die.

So in no particular order, here goes

1. Halebidu and Belur - Hassan, Karanataka

These temples built by the Hoysalas, simply have the finest pieces of architecture I have ever seen. If you have not been there you have not done a thing!

While you are at these 2 places you could also visit Gomateshwara, Biggest Monolith in india.

Quick Tip, get a guide or you will miss the all important, finer nuances.

2. Namdroling Monastery (Golden Temple) – Coorg, Karanataka

This is an awe-inspiring monastery, with massive statues and brilliant paintings, in an unexpected location bang in the middle of Coorg surrounded by beautiful coffee estates. Coorg is very rightly called the Scotland of India.

3. Tiracol Beach Goa

This is at the confluence of river Tiracol with the Arabian Sea having a French fort (now a heritage hotel) as backdrop. You would probably find the beach completely empty (with an exception of few firings). Beautiful cottages available right on the beach.

Do not go there if you are used to the hustle and bustle (read pretty chicks) of most Goan beaches, because chances are you won’t find any. What you will find however, is Peace and tranquility (Big Words, eh?)

4. Malvan Fort – Sindhudurg, Maharashtra

This fort (built by Shivaji) is situated 2 kms into the Arabian Sea, accessible by boat. The coolest thing about it is the fact that it is very well maintained, and does not have an entrance fee. As Yossarian would ask, what’s the catch? Simple, you need to pay for the boat ride :) (a very minimal amount).

5. Swami Vivekanada Rock – Kanyakumari, Tamilnadu

Southern most tip of India. The Sunrise and the Sunset is what Kanyakumari is popular for. However as far as I am concerned it is the view from Vivekananda Rock, that looks out to Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean which is worth the trip. One is able to see the different shades of the seas and identify which one is which!

6. Kerala BackwatersCentral Kerala

I once took a boat ride from Kottayam to Allepey across the backwaters, and that memorable ride took almost 6 joyous hours . Kerala is known as Gods own Country for a reason (yeah other than for promoting tourism).

Next time I go to Kerala I am going to be on a houseboat (hey not a bad idea, hmmm).

7. Marine DriveBombay

Eating chaats at midnight on the Marine Drive, wonderful wonderful.

8. Dandeli – Karnataka

If one wants an adventure tirp in Southern India, head to Dandeli. Some of the most dense forest in the Western ghats are found here. The River kali forms a section of Rapids (Scale 3) making a great White Water rafting place.

One can do mountain biking, explore some real scary caves, travel in an open jeep into the wildlife sanctuary, trek and yeah camp out in the forest. Pretty good eh?

9. Hogenekal falls – Tamilnadu

Super place, the river Kaveri snakes through a ravine and one can hire coracles to take you along the river, between towering sheer walls of rock, under waterfalls and to a more calm part of the river where you can relax in the water and wait for the natives to fry fresh catch of the day.

Seen the ‘Raat ka naasha’ (Ashoka) video? the place is 10 times better than it looks in that video (despite it being Santosh Sivan behind the camera).

August is the best time to be there.

10. Stay at home and read a book! Serious, best place to be!

No comments: