Friday, 20 October 2017

Laxmi Poojan 2017

Check out my pictures from this year's Laxmi Poojan:

My mom trying to smile after recovering from a 103-degree temperature



Thursday, 19 October 2017

Monday, 16 October 2017

Chinchoti Waterfalls – What to Expect

For Anurag's week off, we were hunting down exotic locations for a getaway. We had planned on camping overnight near the Devkund Waterfalls, but we learnt that the area was shut until 15th of this month. Though disappointed, our desire of drenching under the falls and floating in the natural pool made out of it was not yet crushed. We looked for one-day waterfall locations around Mumbai and coincided on this exquisite waterfall of Chinchoti.

Source: Treksandtrails.org













Anurag asked one of his friends who had been here before and via his feedback, we were impressed. Even the pictures looked lovely. The plan was made and off we went towards the falls on Anurag's Royal Enfield. 

After a one-hour ride, we reached the base. The distance between the base and the waterfall is around 8 km, which is fine if the road was smooth. However, when reaching, you would be disappointed looking at the rocky road. Imagine riding on an extremely rocky patch for 45 minutes at a stretch! The cars could manage, but since we were on a bullet, I was worried. Plus the mishap of the tyres puncturing would have left us amidst the jungle with no people around. 

We crossed a fair amount of the route, but after studying the maps, we were stunned to find the waterfall to be still 20 minutes away. We were then dubious of whether it was worth taking the risk. We stopped on our way and while we were discussing, we could hear water gushing nearby. Anurag checked and saw a beautiful waterfall hidden amidst the trees and bushes. We decided to scrap the main Chinchoti waterfall and instead descended down for this one.

Had there been more people with us, it would have been twice enjoyable. We were here just for the ride, the water, and I was expecting some breathtaking shots. However, unfortunately, Anurag dropped his week-old phone in the water, and though the phone is working well now, the rear camera was filled with fog then. 

My phone's camera is good for nothing, so the imagination of getting beautiful shots was blurred. We relaxed in the pool, splashed water onto each other, and tried our best to make our cameras work. After about half-hour, we were back on the rocky road.


Though we couldn't make it to the actual waterfall, we were contented with our day. When we were heading back and about to reach the barrier, we saw a lady with a stick. She probably controlled the people entering in and going out. She wasn't there when we entered.

She stopped our bike and rudely asked what we were doing in the water. She even falsely accused that she was calling us but we did not respond. We told her that we did not hear anyone's voice and that we were just exploring the place. On that, she said that we could enjoy elsewhere. It was extremely embarrassing for us and I don't think I'm coming here with a boy ever again. 

Not just this, a group of friends – three boys and one girl – approached while this was going on. She rudely asked the girl to take off her scarf so that she could see who she was. She even asked them where they were heading to. One of the boys even snapped back at her and then she calmed down by an inch. She also told us how there were wild animals in the jungle and that she would be responsible if anything happens. 

Gosh! It was uncomfortable and unsettling. After a conversation of ten minutes, we rushed towards home. So –

WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN VISITING CHINCHOTI WATERFALLS


THE ROCKY ROAD

The road is extremely rough and lasts for around an hour from the base to the waterfalls. So, travelling on a moped is a big no, unless you want to take that risk. An ideal mode of transport would be a car preferably with tubeless tyres.

WEEKDAY VS WEEKEND

If you want no humans around, then a weekday would be absolute. But this solitary would come with its own drawbacks. The jungle around is believed to have wild animals. I'm not sure if people have spotted any, but if you're going as a couple or even as a single group, then beware and look around. 
Another con of weekdays is the unavailability of people in case of a puncture. On the contrary, weekends are full of people. So depending on what kind of experience you want, plan your getaway.

THE NAGGING LADY

This lady was a pain in the ass. She literally asked us what we were doing in the water. It was plainly immature of that person. Beware of this lady and try to be as polite as possible. You never know who she brings along and ruins your life.

EXOTIC LOCATION

Overall, Chinchoti Waterfalls is an exotic and a must-visit place for nature admirers. What makes it even better is that it's near Vasai, so you don't have to travel for more than an hour to reach here. The waterfall is dense and refreshing. I recommend going with a group, preferably on a weekend.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

A Step-by-Step Guide to Managing Travel Expenses

The moment we get a job, we start dreaming about our bucket list and even swear to strike off all the destinations. Some people imagine getting wasted on the beaches of Goa with friends, whereas some are determined to finally travel overseas. No matter the destinations, we are worried about the trip expense. 

Vacations are expected to be spiritually and physically relaxing and with friends around, we don't want to nag about how much we're spending. So, with a serpentine bucket list yet to conquer, how to manage expenses, and sticking to them still remains unanswered. Read further for a step-by-step guide to managing money when on the #wanderlust mode.













PACK A TRAVEL JOURNAL

About a week back, I had mentioned about carrying a journal when you travel. This post would be an extension of that idea. As I had shared in that post how you can use your travel journal to write down expenses, I would further share how you can do that, while strategising them.

SET A DAILY BUDGET

The key here is to set a daily budget. For instance, every destination has its own value. Some places are expensive whereas some are dirt cheap. Also, factors like the mode of transport, hotel ratings, etc. are determining factors. Keeping that in mind, set a daily budget. On my recent Goa Gokarna trip, I had fixed my daily budget as Rs. 1,000. This budget included the stay, food, and the travel costs per person. (Mind you; shopping does not fall under this category, therefore, shop at your own risk.)

THINK – CAN YOU GO BEYOND YOUR BUDGET?

It may so happen that you set a budget to squeeze your trip within lesser rupees, but secretly, you have that 'limit' that you can afford. For my trip which was 10 days long, my daily budget was Rs. 1,000, which made my total travel budget as Rs. 10,000 (10 days x Rs. 1,000). However, back in my mind, I knew that I would be fine to spend few extra thousands. 

Depending on your bank balance and the priorities in your life, set an extended budget along with a daily budget. Can you afford to spend more than the daily budget? (Note: The extended budget includes your shopping expenses.) If you can spend a little more, then take that into consideration as well.

WRITING DOWN EXPENSES

Now we come to the point when you're actually travelling. In your journal, apart from mentioning crucial bits like the places you visited, the restaurants you ate at, and the people you met, unmistakably, do write your daily expenses down. You can do this at the end of each day before you hit the bed. If your journal is a mini diary, then dedicate one page for one day. 

To make the task easier, follow this format:

           15/10
Hotel           450
Breakfast      80
Lunch          120
Travel          100
Dinner         200
                    950

REVIEWING THE DAILY BUDGET

When on the trip, as you go through each page, you'll get an idea of how well you're sticking to the daily budget. If the budget is Rs. 1,000 a day, then exceeding it each day by few thousands is alarming. However, if it's moving above by a few hundreds only, then you're still fairing well. In the former case, you need to save money in the coming days of your trip, sometimes, even spending below your daily budget. 

Once you're through with these steps, I'm sure you would travel within budget (or the 'extended' budget). Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy more and worry less about your bank statements. Bon voyage! 

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Upgrade Your Travel LookBook by Packing More Sunglasses














Usually, when we travel, we try to cut down the baggage weight so that we can travel light. However, when we do that, we also lose the chance of dressing better when on a vacation.

I don't mean to say carry a lot of clothes and shoes. With this post, I intend to say that carry as many sunglasses as possible. Sunnies have the power of making or breaking an outfit. No matter how sharp the look is, an unsuitable pair will ruin the entire look.

The best way that remains is to carry as many sunglasses as you can. If Outfit A requires cat-eye sunnies, then pack those. If Outfit B requires white overlarge square ones, then put them in the luggage too. You don't need to purchase additional sunglasses, but try to pair the existing ones. If your classic Ray-Bans go well with two outfits, then you needn't worry at all.

On my recent Goa Gokarna trip, I had carried one pair of sunglasses for every look. My trip was 10 days long, but that doesn't mean I carried 10 pairs for every outfit! I had packed four pairs that went well with all the looks I was sporting.

The bottom line is, in order to avoid overpacking, we often lose out on essentials. We pack only one pair of sunglasses and wear those with all the outfits. So the next time you're travelling, make sure to pack as many pairs as your outfits demand. Because in the end, who doesn't love to be stylish on a vacation? (And, sunglasses hardly take up any weight.)