Category Archives: Travel

Thoughts from being at hometown for a month

Homecoming after many months greets you with numerous pleasant and unpleasant encounters… relatives with plastic smile and intrusive questions, friends for whom every celebration means more and more liquor, mom who thinks son should be fed 24×7, brother who thinks his brother is drinking too much these days coz his belly hs bloated up, nephew who thinks his uncle = punching bag, at church bumping into that old schoolmate whom you had a crush on and disappointed to see her carrying a baby now(:P) …countryside drives through paddy fields that makes you believe you are in heaven, and the highway drives makes you believe you are in hell…. kerala never ceases to surprise you….by the time you are ready to return you are stuffed with so much memories to cherish until the next homecoming.

Took a long break to be at hometown this Jan. Had to attend a conference and also co-ordinate for brother’s marriage. An inter-religious, inter-state, inter-language, inter-culture marriage comes with its own challenges and opportunities. Challenge to break the conventional prejudice notions of people and opportunity to welcome a wonderful yet different person to your family. Both turned out to be refreshingly smooth and successful.

Cant resist mentioning few of the random observations I could make while at home, Kerala.

  1. For a marriage function, people come to eat. Period.
  2. Only people who listen to a marriage mass at church are the co-priests and altar boys. Rest all are busy envying other’s outfits.
  3. In a party, majority prefer brandy to rum to whisky. I was told that it is coz it gives them a faster ‘kick’.
  4. After 3 pegs, brand matters and not taste. Fill local liquor in a scotch bottle and they will still thank you. 😛
  5. Smoking is no more preferred, especially amongst 20-30 age group
  6. Everyone has an opinion about everything. However it is limited to preaching and not practicing.
  7. Goons and taporis during school days have become more successful than class toppers. Seeing this trend on a regular basis now.
  8. Gulf is still the ‘chosen land’, even for the newly pass-out engineers
  9. Interactive digital class-boards have come in our small town and students are also given linux os to use along with windows.
  10. Seeing more parda clad kids on the roads. People becoming more conscious about their religious identity ?
  11. People have gradually started to stop looking ‘down’ at people who start own business instead of job.
  12. Perception of success is more valued than success itself.
  13. Some book stalls still survive by selling only malayalam books. People are actually buying them. Long live the language.
  14. More real estate deals = more disposable income in hand = more audi’s and bmw’s on roads… Merc is no more the ‘in’ thing.
  15. Going through the speed track in highways are their birthright, even if the car is going at 20 kph they wont budge to left
  16. To get a work done, bribe/tip before the work. It helps far better than giving it later. Anyway you will end up paying for sure.
  17. Somethings never change… like a standard unlimited lunch that is still available for Rs. 20 in most hotels.

so after 25 days, 2000+km of driving, 4 functions and 5 kg increase in body weight…am back in A’bad. This time it was totally worth it…..and the memories are so overwhelming… let me take use months to  miss it so much that I rush back at the next possible exit.

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To Mount Abu and back in a day

Was expecting this Diwali to be passed off as just another holiday, and there comes @nithinkd from Delhi who totally changed the whole equation. Result, one of the best weekend + Diwali in my life. Nithin is a long distance rider with many years of biking experience in Hand ( has gone to Leh twice in his Enfield a.k.a Goddess), a mobile encyclopedia of automobiles and a virtual GPS. As Ahmedabad offers very little as a place to explore, Mt. Abu came as a quick option to be considered. I had done the 37115079same route with Arjun (my pulsar 150) 2 months back and was quite familiar with the route. Thus we set off for the trip on sunday morning and reach back same night. Clocked 510 km in 20 hours (10 hours of riding and another 10 hours of breaks)

Nithin has captured the entire trip in a beautiful travelogue and guess, it has left nothing more to add to it. So read on about an eventful journey to Mount Abu in his own words.

Jambughoda – Champaner one day trip with CSers

CouchSurfers Ahmedabad has made it again. A quickie weekend getaway trip on sunday. Me, Bhavesh, Math and Anirudh made this memorable trip to Jambughoda wildlife sanctuary and historical Champaner fort near Halol (Baroda). Trip was very refreshing and enjoyed every single moment of it. See the pics above 🙂

Tips for travellers:

Route taken: Ahmedabad –> Baroda (express highway) –> take left turn from Anand and head towards Savli through State highway –> Pavagadh –> Jambughoda –> Champaner –> Halol –> Baroda –> Ahmedabad

Advisable route: Head straight to Baroda in express highway and then to Halol in state highway. Roads are amazing in both stretch and you can reach Jambughoda in less than 3 hours.

Trek: Jambughoda has many small hills which are trekkable. Most are thick forests and steep. You will find less of rocks and more of trees there and so stay away if its raining. Trek could be way difficult in rain. It was pretty humid when we trekked and we did the mistake of not carrying water with us. Overall it’s a nice short trek but thoroughly enjoyable. Try other side of hill while coming down.

Eateries: Not many good ones near Jambughoda or Chamapner. However there is a Jambughoda Palace which is very near to sanctuary. The king still lives there and they do serve outsiders with food and accomodation. Prior booking is mandatory for food.

Overall a very good location for a one day trip from Ahmedabad. Perfect for a weekend getaway with family.

CSers biking to Mount Abu [photos]

Couchsurfers, Ahmedabad embarked on a 2 days bike trip to Mount Abu which is around 230km from Ahmedabad. Group consisted of Alex (from US), Mathieu (France), Bhavesh (Ahd.), Ujjwal (Ahd.), Sreejith (Kerala, nw in Ahd.), Jidhin (Kerala, nw in Ahd.), Leo (Kerala, nw in Ahd.) and Anil (Ahd.). Alex’s friend Sarah too joined us till Abu.
We had an awesome time biking, camping at a forest camp site and then going for 2 amazing treks in small hills out there. Looking out for more such journeys with fellow CSers. You guyz rock 🙂
 
Useful Information for travellers:
Onward Route we used: Ahmedabad –> Mehsana (thru highway) –> Modhera (Sun temple visit, thru inner roads) –> Patan (Stepwell visit, thru inner roads) –> Sidhipur (thru inner roads) –> Palanpur (thru highway) –> Abu road –> Mt. Abu.
 
On the way back: Mt. Abu –> Palanpur —> Ahmedabad (Straight highway, heavenly roads. Possible to complete in 4 hours at a stretch with short snack breaks)
 
Stay at: We erected tarps/tents at Official forest camp site (5km from town) and used sleeping bags to protect from rain. Got sleeping bags and other accessories from Forest officer, Mt. Abu (office near Sunset point).
Would advise to try out this than a hotel. Experience is mindblowing.
 
Trek : There is a small but amazing trek route trail near camp site. Just goto top of that hill and you will be welcomed by a beautiful lake. Take a dip there and just enjoy with few drinks. Awesome it is.
 
Also there is a beautiful trek route in the ‘crocodile lake’ point. Just head over to mountain on right side, assure you to have a good rocky trek trail.
 
Drinks: Mt. Abu is not really a drinker’s paradise contrary to perception. It is not so cheap compared to other states. Stock up drinks before you enter Mt. Abu city to get a comparatively cheap deal. Also do note that all shops are officially closed by 8pm. After that you will have to shell out 30% to get them from behind the doors.