15yrs gone by (Life outside office space) – Part 2 (Travel in India)

Travel is an opportunity created by oneself for self. While traveling with a big group is fun traveling with limited set teaches a lot if your eyes and ears are open.

Something that I learnt are:

1. Planning and contingency planning.

2. Managing with available resources which includes cash in hand.

3. Handling situations and people and stress.

4. Getting out of comfort zone.

5. Admire the knowledge of people around the world and the beauty that nature has to offer.

6. The memories.

While many don’t travel to places considering language as a barrier, I would not agree. I traveled from Shanghai to Xitang none of the people I met in that entire trip spoke English!

From the first trip when I traveled to Waynad via a old Tamil Nadu govt bus leaking of water due to rain spending the journey sitting on the steps, I had shed the comfort out of travel. It does not mean not to do a luxury travel, that helps too!

With 1000/- rupees in hand my friend and myself set out to tour South India. We traveled in night bus to avoid taking accommodation! I think the best was how we got away from cops with a straight face lie! That night the cops were beating everyone who was sleeping inside the bus stand.

Or the night when we landed in Bhopal railway station, every taxi driver wanted a piece of cake and lot of money. When you walk out without hiring a taxi it is not pleasant especially when there is a foreigner and a girl. In the end nobody has touched you or hurt you is a miracle!

Rum and ride, this was a glorious trip by cycle across Goa. It was one hell of trip.

The first ever time I sat on a motorbike as a rider was in 2005, it was RE Thunderbird (my brothers) and we rode to Yercaud from Bangalore. It was annual ride of RTMC. From then on I spinned off with a subgroup RKMC which later became big in Bangalore. I bought a RE STD Bullet for myself and rode through many parts of India, major long journeys were solo.

Bullet and myself rolled through hill stations in the South India during monsoon, trip to Kolkata and back, many trips on West coast, Delhi to Bangalore. Bullet is not bereft of problems. Some times it would stop for no reason, some welding would come off, something would fail. We face the problems together and you learn to fix.

One of those trip was to leh-ladakh from Delhi. It was not smooth sailing trip. I had a fall and limping, bullet was giving up and finally nature also stopped us from reaching the destination with cloud burst but we eased out all tensions for two days at Bathal.

The worst of the problem is when you meet with accident, two accidents both times broken bones! Inspite of many issues, Bullet is so special for me that it was in one of those rides I met a girl, lost my 💓 and we got married later.

Having lived with Bullet the next vehicle was Mahindra Thar. The climax of the trips was month long trip to leh ladakh across mid and western parts of India, driving all the way supported by my wife who sat through giving up on all comforts.

Both Bullet and Thar were used exhaustively but I never forgot Indian Railways or each individual State Bus Transport! If you want to experience a tough journey take the train which travels for 5days starting from southern part of India to Assam.

If I sit down to name some places I would not be doing justice to our country. Each place has something attached to it that pulls you. Some that you could try visiting: Malvan, Murud, Majuli, Srinagar, Kaaladi, Kollam, Tenkasi, Omkareshwar, Valparai, Chambal, Chilka, Rameshwaram, Sariska, Malnad, Daman, Diu, Dwaraka, Machilipatnam…..

India has so much to offer to feel, see and experience. The people, the cuisine…. When I look back I still feel is that all that I have seen.

All the travel across India cannot be written about in one post. Neither have I after so many years traveling through India have seen everything. I am satisfied having seen majority of India but there is still lots more to see. Some time in future I would continue my travel in India!

Athithi Devo Bhava.

Advertisements

Whirlpool – Service & Social Media

It all started in the month of May 2016. After noticing for a month the fluctuation in cooling of the refrigerator, I called up whirlpool customer care and registered a complaint. The technician who arrived at the house conveniently said it is gas problem and refill is required and would send the concerned technician.
In 2nd half of June, the technician did come to fill the gas. Post which he discovered the core board was not working. He reported the issue to his boss and his boss promptly gave the response which is normally given to customer. “Sir, two days part would be available.” 2 days became 5 days to a week to 2 weeks to 3 weeks. In the meantime he asked us to contact his boss and put pressure! <brilliant tactics>
Frustrated with the behavior we made a post on social media, twitter and facebook. Whirlpool India facebook page post did not get any response from the company. With more than 40days since identifying the problem now the whirlpool incharge asked us to send model number and serial number and buy a new fridge since the core board was not available anywhere in India. I asked him for the requisition form which he had sent to his head office. I did suspect foul play.
On the other side I kept posting to the twitter handle of whirlpool customer care, apparently this is caters to US region. Due to constant posts and complaining about the attitude of whirlpool service guys in India finally they relented. They forwarded the complaint to India head office and then the action started. I got a call from Delhi office of Whirlpool. They followed it up and found that core board did exist in India. <unlike what was claimed by Bangalore office>
A week later the board reached Bangalore and was fixed by a different technician.

If you are talking to Madhu from Whirlpool, Bangalore ask him clearly what is going to be his action plan.

What this entire episode also highlights is the importance given to social media in India and in USA. While the India handlers ignored, the US after repeatedly pressing on understood there was a real problem. Thankfully there was someone listening.

Jan 2012 (part 2) – Murud

One of the unkown and not so touristic place is Murud in Raigad district of Maharashtra. This is only beach destination which is close to a hill station, Dapoli

. From Dapoli, Murud is about 8-10kms away and could be reached in an auto share.
Most tourists to this beach destination are from either Pune or Mumbai. Very peaceful place and few options for stay this is more a place for relaxing.
What to do here? Nothing actually. One can laze around, climb trees, watch birds, play with dogs, observe butterflies.

Month of January is also season when all blooms!
There is a small temple nearby and a village school. One can make a day trip to Janjira Fort in the sea. Also close to is Harnai and Anjarle.

This is a perfect getaway for all those who want to be away from crowds on the beach in Goa and other parts of Maharashtra.

Reflections, Murd Beach

Reflections, Murd Beach

PS: It is possible that the place of stay then is not in existence today.

Jan 2012 (Part3) – Anjarle & Harnai

Further about 15kms from Murud is little bigger village Anjarle.

There are two access to this village which is famous for Kadyawarcha Ganesha Temple.

Taking a ferry after a short distance of travel saves lot of time and distance. Once you get down at Anjarle you are again welcomed by white sands. Get out of the shore, walk a few meters & you would come across a big tree. IMG_2789Taking a turn at the tree marks the climb to Kadyawarcha Temple. I was initially scared that the steps to the temple would be steep making it a difficult & tough climb up.

It turned out to be contrary. Within no time I was up there at the temple.

After my prayers & offerings to Ganesha, I was back down to land in no time! There are buses which go all the way up but its better to walk up. Its refreshing.

Kanakadurg Fort

Kanakdurg Fort, Harnai - 25

Kanakdurg Fort, Harnai – 25

At the ship port of Harnai is the land fort built by the Maratha Empire. On the sea is the Suvarnadurg fort. Kanakadurg fort supplements the one on sea. Currently this is an abandoned structure and is mostly not in use. There are hardly tourists in this part of the map. In those days this served as military camp.

What one can see today is overgrown plants, trees, bird nesting and dilapidated structures.

Two of same flock together!

Two of same flock together!

Harnai

When the evening sets in people gather at sea shore.

They come in autos, bullock carts and many by foot. They have gathered to welcome the boats back from fishing. Once the boats are marooned to land, the fishes are segregated and prices fixed. People buy either in crates or in small quantities.
There is a lot of hustle bustle, bargaining on the prices. The reaction on the faces of people changes and so does the mood. Everyone is there to buy. It is apparently not just humans there are birds flocking around, dogs, cats who all are waiting for their share to drop off and pick some for their dinner.

Eagerly looking cat, Harnai

Eagerly looking cat, Harnai

It is quite a hectic evening and worth watching. This should be on the schedule of a tourist to these areas.

 

Sibsagar

About 90kms to west of Dibrugarh is a town Sibsagar (Sivsagar) which was in the 18th century capital of the Ahom Kingdom. While some say the Ahom rulers came up Thailand some say they came from China.
It is not a very big town rather a radius of 8-10kms. There are some monuments and temples to visit around here. Sitting by the side of the lake one can spend an entire evening supplemented with listening to the chirping of birds. There are two big lakes in this town.
We started with a salutation to Shiva & Devi before proceeding to see some of the monuments.

ShivaDol
image

image

image

What stands out in this temple is the Shiv linga is reversed. The linga is actually under the ground with a passage leading to end of the wall. Unlike in temples of Shiva elsewhere one cannot go around the linga since you are not supposed to jump across the passage.
The gopuram or the tower is covered on the top with gold. People say that the entire tower was covered with gold and invaders in different forms took away the gold. The gold which is still remaining on the tower top is because they were unable to remove. Some claim that researchers were not able to find what material was used to glue to gold.
Adjacent to Shiva are devi and vishnu temples. Behind the temple is a big lake which apparently is not the biggest lake here.

Rang Ghar
image

image

This was an amphitheater built by the Ahom dynasty for entertainment purpose. What is to be noted is the a boat is carved on top of this structure. There should be something significant in this since I observed similar carving near GanShyam temple.
The material as they say used for constructing this amphitheater is not brick or stone. Rather it is a mixture of rice, pulses, fish, eggs! How did somebody find out such a combination could be used in construction and would stand still even after more than 200 years!

Talatal Ghar & Kareng Ghar (Rangpur Palace)
image

image

image

image

image

One cannot see anything of Talatal Ghar except read what is written. Apparently it is 3 floors under the ground used as a base for army and military training. It has secret tunnels heading towards Rang Ghar and other areas. The locals say that the 3 floors under the ground is like a maze. There were some including Britishers who tried to navigate through and got lost. Seems some people died inside trying to explore. It was sealed off during the Britishers time. (I do not know how much of this is true)
Kareng Ghar is four floors above the ground including ground floor. It is octagonal shaped Ghar surrounded by moats. There is a temple for Parvathi. While trying to understand the structure it is noticeable that lot which were part of this structure is missing. Actually yes, in the years post the Ahom dynasty it was destroyed by invaders.
One cannot but just admire on how in-depth the rulers in those days had thought before constructing palaces or temples.

Joysagar
image

image

image

image

It is to date said to be the biggest man-made lake in India. The depth of the lake is about 14ft. There is a restaurant on one side and option for boating (self pedalling boats). The ticket for boating can be taken from the restaurant.
There are three temples here for Shiva, Devi and Vishnu. None of the three have murthi or idols in it. History says the idols were stolen. The temples still stand there.
What is not commonly seen is about 200mts further from Devidol there is another temple for Ganshyam. Here also no idol.
The ASI has taken over the temples and are doing some restoration and beatification work currently.
From here we spent quite a long time by the calm composed water body with cups of tea.

Digboi – Oil oil

In 1887 after years of research the Britishers got people into action of “dig boy dig” for oil. Post digging within hundreds of feet they stuck oil. And then came extraction of wax and petrochemical. From Burmah Oil Company to Assam Oil to Indian Oil Corporation.

image

The 1st oil well dried by 1903…

image

image

Exploration in nearby areas and getting oil has not stopped. All this and more can be learnt at the museum started and maintained by IOC. It is titled “The Digboi Story”. If you are in these parts of India it is important to make a visit here to learn our history.

Near to the museum is” War Cemetery “.

image

This is in memory of all those who laid down their lives defending against Japanese during 2nd World War.
For one I was amazed by how beautifully it has been maintained. Few minutes of silence.

image

image

Just out of curiosity took few photos of goat!

image

Margherita is a tea garden about 14kms from digboi which we did not visit due to rains!

Kanyakumari — Travel Tale

image

image

After a bit of roaming around yesterday today was a hectic day of sightseeing. I do not think I have covered so many touristic places in a city a day in all my travel put together.
1. Morning post breakfast was a short stop at Triveni Sangam. Normally during sunrise or sunset it is easy to observe.

image

Then we headed to jetty to go to Vivekananda rock memorial. 34/- per person but the queue was quite long. After 3-4 rounds waiting we got into the boat.
There are only two boats which ply. Only max of 140 passengers per boat. Life jackets are provided. Positive difference after incidents of boat capsizing in other places.

image

image

2. Vivekananda rock memorial
The history is that Vivekananda swam to this rock and meditated. Later this memorial was built. If you go inside the mediation room it is very peaceful disturbed by sounds of people.
Lot of tourists are interested in marking places so they tend to not enjoy the moment. Stand at each sections and click photos. Thanks to smartphone today even a kid can take a photo.

image

image

image

What is annoying is the way people push or jump queue to get into the jetty from shore and from memorial.
3. Lighthouse
Open all days between 3:00pm – 5:00pm this should be in the schedule. Climb up 11 stories approximately and you would have a beautiful view of the sea.

image

image

4. Dattatreya Temple (Shiva Brahma Vishnu)
They came from Maharashtra and set up this temple here. It has no architecture similarity to other temples in South India. The main poojary would offer and call to eat. It is up to you to either politely decline or accept the offer. There are no hidden agendas.

image

5. Vattakottai Fort
This was used not just by Kings who built it but also by Britishers. This Fort was used to store armaments and also as prison.
During King time there was a tunnel which would lead to palace in nagerc

oil a distance of 45kms. This was because the King did not go through main roads. This was closed by Britishers.
The shore sand is unspoilt. The depth is also high. That explains lack of tourists to this beach.

image

image

image

image

6. Sri Sai Baba
Next on the list was shirdi Sai baba temple. It is very calm and by now you could get dehydrated. There is a coconut vendor. Also water tap which provides purified water.
7. Suchindrum Temple
Next on the list is suchindrum temple. It is very old temple with lots of carving. To see through the complete carvings it would take one close to 2-3hrs.
Shiva Brahma Vishnu the main deity. Other being Hanuman big size and kaala bhairava.
If we change our mindset of temple visit we would be able to appreciate the architecture and work gone into it.

image

8. Sunset view point
About 1.5kms from Gandhi Mandapam is this view point. We were late!

image

9. Mayapuri Wax Museum.
10. Guganateshwar Temple
We skipped 9,10 since we saw Wax Museum previous day. We also had to freshen up for epic journey!

4 – 10 are places covered in half a day tour package. If you go in group by the travel agent bus the cost is Rs.150/- per person. It is worth to take it if you don’t know what to do for 4hrs!
If you have own vehicle go around by yourself.