The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,400 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.
You might say “What’s the fun in that? With no friends, family and relatives just wandering alone like a ghost?” Well I enjoyed every bit of it to be a Lone Male traveller and savoured the adulation and respect I received from people whom I met during this travel who came to know I was travelling alone, except in Goa where I was mistook as only a driver or they thought that I had lost my marbles (sheepish grin). I planned in such a way so as to try not to cover the beaten up touristy places along the way and also planned to use my trusty companion, my car to take me there. After much debate with myself, I finally settled down with driving down to some pilgrimage places like Shringeri and Hornadu in Chickmagalur district, Karnataka and return journey through the most spectacular coastal roads in the world, the Konkan coast – a total of 1500 kms from Kolhapur to Kolhapur.
So off I was from Kolhapur to Belgaum, my beloved hometown and then to Haliyal (my wife’s hometown), from Megadeth blasting on my stereo and Dave Mustaine shining his ‘black tooth grin’ to Miles Davis soothing my nerves after the much sought for onslaught, music for all moods.
Day 1: Dandeli
Though not on my itinerary, I visited Dandeli (25 kms from Haliyal) to perform a recce (no, I am not David Headley) for a near future tentative trip to this place for my office. I visited Bison Resort, Hornbill Resort, Supa Dam, Kali Adventure Camp, Kulgi Nature Camp. It was December and the dense forest aptly reflected the holiday mood of the people desperate to get bookings in this calm and refreshing jungle and December being the best time to visit this place.
Day 2: Hulgol Home Stay
The next day, I started off on the real journey from Haliyal to Sirsi. I like the backpacking style of travel (characterised by low budget, independent travel) where the plan is there is no plan. The drive was characterised by a well laid road, the way it flowed and of course the view through the windscreen. I had read about Hulgol and its village charm that I knew instantly I wanted to stay here. But Hulgol is not well mapped and you have to keep your eyes peeled for milestones as there is only one marked for the place. Initially intending to do a lame stay in some lodge in Sirsi, when I came across Hulgol village, about 14 kms before Sirsi, the areca trees and lush green surroundings coerced me to search for some place here to halt for the night. And what luck I was in for!! Sure enough I saw this board pointing to “Areca Valley Home Stay” and immediately I swerved (gently) my vehicle towards that direction. After a km in the dense areca plantation, I saw this beautiful old styled house welcoming me. This Home stay is maintained by Hegade Family who own acres of plantation and farm fields. I met up with the owner and they were happy to let me a room for the night. The room was clean as a whistle. I was introduced to the other family members of the house. It was 8 pm and after some rest, I was taken to the Areca nut peeling activity into the dense dark path through the village. It was a beautiful clear star and moon lit night and after some time we reached the place where the peeling was going on. About 20 odd women were expertly peeling away the supari nuts. As told to me by Mr. Hegade, the nuts are tender after peeling and then they are dried in the sun to mature the nuts suitable for consumption. Then we returned home to be treated with delicious traditional vegetarian Havyak dinner that Mrs. Hegade had prepared for us. I absolutely loved the jaggery desserts and the simple but delicious delights on the table. This was a welcome change from what I knew about the overdose of seafood that will be happening once I touch the coastal line. I was told that all the ingredients are the freshest from the home garden and prepared in pure ghee. After the satisfying dinner, I took this opportunity to interact with the family members and learning their way of life.
Day 3: Sagar and Jog Falls
Early morning was greeted by the sunrise filtering through the chlorophyll of the green leaves of the surrounding plantation. I was in awe of this beauty. After morning tea, I was welcomed for breakfast of typical delicious dosas and chutney and to top it all with jaggery desserts. I was taken on a round of the plantation after which it was time for me to leave. I said to myself this is a perfect start to the whole experience and was fortunate to spot this home stay. Then I visited Sahasralinga which is half a kilometre from the home stay. It is in the river Shalmala and is famous for being the location where around a thousand lingas are carved on the rocks in the river bank. Then off I was to Ikkeri near Sagar where the majestic Hoysala – Kadamba style Aghoreshwar temple is situated. There are intricate carvings on the stone walls of the temple. Then I moved on to Jog Falls to witness the world famous Jog waterfalls created by the Sharavati River, which is one of the highest waterfalls in the world. There was hardly any water than the previous time I had visited this falls. On my way back to Sagar, I stumbled across another home stay called Matthuga and checked in. I was given a beautiful cottage surrounded by plantation and maintained by the keepers of the stay. Though not as homely as in my previous experience, but I was offered traditional dinner and early morning breakfast. I mingled with the other family occupants. At night, I was greeted by 3 giant “tarantula” like spiders in my cottage and small toads in the bathroom which were shooed away by the keeper at my request . I have developed a new phobia after seeing these giant creepy crawlers called “Arachnaphobia”!!
Day 4: Shringeri
After breakfast, I started out for Shringeri Devasthan, about 170 kms from Sagar via Tirthhalli, known for its mutt (temple) established by Adi Shankaracharya and is a famous pilgrimage center for Hindus. I reached there late in the evening as I was travelling at a slow pace enjoying the surrounding beauty. I checked in the rooms of the Devsthan. These rooms are extremely basic and cheap but well maintained. Then I set out for the Devsthan. The temple was flocked by devotees. There was orderliness in the temple as opposed to the chaos we find in the temples up North. Behind the temple is the Tunga River where fish feeding is the major attraction and a bridge across the river to villages. There is the Sharadamba Temple and Vidyashankara Temple. After witnessing the sunset on the river banks, I wandered in the town. I observed two elderly couple almost bursting to tears on reaching Sringeri to pay homage to the Deity. Such was the devotion on display. It was now time for me to taste the food of the temple. I immediately got a seat on reaching the dining hall with empty plates in place. After a line was full, the express serving began with Payasam to start with, then came rice, vegetables and sambar and rassam. The food was extremely basic but truly delicious. I had never eaten so fast before and my dinner was over within 5 minutes. After we got up, the used plates were immediately picked up by volunteers and floors were cleaned up within under 3 minutes and new plates placed for other devotees desperately waiting in queue. When I came out of the dinner hall, there was Mahapooja underway. After the pooja, I returned to my room and retired for the day.
Day 5: Hornadu
After morning breakfast of idlis and vadas, I set off to another temple town called Hornadu via Jayapura. The entire way was in dense thick forest. Horanadu lies amidst beautiful Malnad region, near another temple town called Kalasa and the Annapurneshwari Temple is situated here. Horanadu is like a hill station with beautiful landscapes and farm fields. Every visitor to the Annapoorna temple at Horanadu, irrespective of their religion, language, caste, or creed, is provided with a three-course vegetarian meal similar to that in Sringeri. I had no plans to stay in Hornadu but to move on to Udupi for stay, but looking at its surrounding beauty decided to stay here for one night at another valley stay that I stumbled upon about 1.5 kms from the temple. The cottage, sans spider, given to me was situated amidst scenic paddy fields and high rise mountains. I took some rest and then started off for the temple. The main deity of the goddess was put in place by Adi Shankaracharya; the new deity of goddess Annapurneshwari was consecrated in the temple in 1973. Here I also had Prasadam for dinner.
Day 6: Kudremukh – Udupi – Kundapur
The next morning, I started my journey to Kundapur via Kudremukh and Udupi. Kudremukh is a mountain range noted for its scenic beauty. Owing to the dense forests, sighting wildlife can be challenging, though the area is rich in wildlife. The drive through the National Park was enchanting and exhilarating with forest, mountains and the azure blue sky coupled with surprisingly excellent road. The Tunga and Bhadra rivers are said to originate here and flow freely through the parklands. The area is also primarily known for KIOCL mining which operated till few years back. The area is also known for skirmishes between the Naxalites and the police. You have to take a free entry pass before entering the National Park. Kudremukh (means ‘Horse face’ in Kannada ) peak is situated in this park but is not visible from the road and involves some trekking to do to reach the peak. I was moving very slowly, stopping at vantage points to capture the scenic views, tea plantations, newly built bridges, when a police constable hitched a ride up to Kudremukh town. He acted as my guide and I surprisingly did well to converse with him in Kannada. I had not realised my Kannada speaking prowess till then, thanks to it being a subject in my school. He told me various interesting things about the place including the fact that the Naxalites were troubling the police even now, which I had thought had died down after the recent encounter of their leader by the police. All the time he was in my car, I had my heart in my mouth, fearing that the Naxals will pop out of the wilderness seeing the policeman, with a gun in his hand, shooting even me thinking that I am his accomplice. But the constable assured me that the Naxals don’t hurt tourists. He got off near his station and thanked me for the ride and now I could breathe a sigh of relief. On the way, I came across a waterfalls called “Hanuman Gundi” which is about more than a 100 feet high. It was easy way down the stairs but exhausting way up but was worth visiting. I was famished by the time I reached my car and wanted to reach Udupi for lunch asap. After another 10 kms, I exited the Park which in my opinion, is the most scenic forest cover I have ever seen. When I approached Karkala, I could feel the humidity in the air and the areca trees and dense forest were replaced by the familiar Konkan Coastal landscape. I passed the famous Manipal University campus and had my lunch of Neer Dosa and Idli Vada in Udupi at the famous Hotel Karavali. I skipped the temples of Udupi due to paucity of time and continued my journey to Kundapura for night halt. On the way, I dropped by to visit the Malpe Beach near Udupi. I had dinner at the Shetty Lunch Home in Kundapura famous for its Kane fish Masala and Chicken Ghee Roast and checked in a hotel and retired for the day.
Day 7: Kundapura – Murudeshwar-Karwar-Goa
I started my journey to Murudeshwar for visit to the famous temple located on the sea side. On the way, I stopped at the beautiful scenic Maravanthe beach, 15 kms north of Kundapura where the national highway NH-17 passes close to this beach (around 100 metres from the shore) and a stretch of a kilometre of this highway is flanked by the seashore of Arabian sea on one side and the Hills forming a backdrop to the river on the other. Then I arrived at Murdeshwar. It houses the world’s second tallest statue of Lord Shiva. The temple and the town was bustling with activity of tourists and pilgrims. I had a helping of my favourite fish curry and rice at Honnavar and continued my journey to Karwar, giving Gokarna (another important pilgrim place) a skip, with the idea of halting in some South Goa Beach. I arrived at Canacona, South Goa and started searching for a lodge near Pallolem Beach. But as it was December season, the hotel rates had skyrocketed and I was not willing to shell out that much. So after a long search, I finally found a small resort which suited my budget.
Day 8: Fort Terekhol (Tiracol)
I have visited Goa and its beaches many times over and did not want to revisit them again. You can have a look at my other blog post on Goa here. The next morning, I went to the Pallolem Beach which is a typical Goan beach filled with tourists and then resumed my journey, destination Fort Terekhol Heritage Hotel via Margaon, Panjim, where I had made arrangements for a day’s stay. The road all along upto Fort Tiracol is good, interesting and picturesque. The drive is through many Goan villages, along the beaches of Morjim, Ashvem and Arambol to reach the jetty at Kerim beach. A ferry takes you and the car across the river. Then it’s less than a five minute drive up a hill to an abode of peace and quiet, great view of the Arabian sea and the Querim beach, good food and good sleep. The fort was originally built by Maharaja Khem Sawant Bhonsle, the Raja of Sawantwadi, in the 17th century and later was surrendered to the Portuguese which in turn was forcibly annexed to India after independence. The Terekhol fort has been converted into a hotel, the Terekhol Fort Heritage. There is a church in the fort courtyard which is not open to the general public except on certain occasions such as the annual feast that is usually held in May. The rooms are named by the days of the week. The scenery from my balcony of the Arabian Sea was awesome and I witnessed the sunset from my balcony marking the end of my awe-inspiring journey. I had the Chef’s special Goan feast of Prawns curry and Red snapper and mussels masala fry with pancakes as dessert.
Day 9: Home
The next morning, after breakfast, I checked out and started my Home bound journey to Kolhapur. On the way, I stopped at Reddy Ganesh Temple which was under renovation. I had my lunch of the ubiquitous sol kadi, fish fry, fish curry and prawns fry at the famous and bustling Shree Mahalaxmi, Sawantwadi. I passed the famous Amboli Hill Station and onto Nipani to take NH 4 to Kolhapur.
For snapshots of this tour, click here.
For your education if you do not know this —- See how Lokpal Bill can curb the politicians (copied from an email received by me)
|Existing System||System Proposed by civil society|
No politician or senior officer ever goes to jail despite huge evidence because Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) and CBI directly come under the government. Before starting investigation or initiating prosecution in any case, they have to take permission from the same bosses, against whom the case has to be investigated.
Lokpal at centre and Lokayukta at state level will be independent bodies. ACB and CBI will be merged into these bodies. They will have power to initiate investigations and prosecution against any officer or politician without needing anyone’s permission. Investigation should be completed within 1 year and trial to get over in next 1 year. Within two years, the corrupt should go to jail.
No corrupt officer is dismissed from the job because Central Vigilance Commission, which is supposed to dismiss corrupt officers, is only an advisory body. Whenever it advises government to dismiss any senior corrupt officer, its advice is never implemented.
Lokpal and Lokayukta will have complete powers to order dismissal of a corrupt officer. CVC and all departmental vigilance will be merged into Lokpal and state vigilance will be merged into Lokayukta.
No action is taken against corrupt judges because permission is required from the Chief Justice of India to even register an FIR against corrupt judges.
Lokpal & Lokayukta shall have powers to investigate and prosecute any judge without needing anyone’s permission.
Nowhere to go – People expose corruption but no action is taken on their complaints.
Lokpal & Lokayukta will have to enquire into and hear every complaint.
There is so much corruption within CBI and vigilance departments. Their functioning is so secret that it encourages corruption within these agencies.
All investigations in Lokpal & Lokayukta shall be transparent. After completion of investigation, all case records shall be open to public. Complaint against any staff of Lokpal & Lokayukta shall be enquired and punishment announced within two months.
Weak and corrupt people are appointed as heads of anti-corruption agencies.
Politicians will have absolutely no say in selections of Chairperson and members of Lokpal & Lokayukta. Selections will take place through a transparent and public participatory process.
Citizens face harassment in government offices. Sometimes they are forced to pay bribes. One can only complaint to senior officers. No action is taken on complaints because senior officers also get their cut.
Lokpal & Lokayukta will get public grievances resolved in time bound manner, impose a penalty of Rs 250 per day of delay to be deducted from the salary of guilty officer and award that amount as compensation to the aggrieved citizen.
Nothing in law to recover ill-gotten wealth. A corrupt person can come out of jail and enjoy that money.
Loss caused to the government due to corruption will be recovered from all accused.
Small punishment for corruption- Punishment for corruption is minimum 6 months and maximum 7 years.
Enhanced punishment - The punishment would be minimum 5 years and maximum of life imprisonment.
June is the monsoon season all over the south and Nikhil was searching for a destination which will give a break from hectic work schedule and the rains. So he came up with the idea of visiting Spiti Valley. When I heard the name I was excited as finally I will be using my passport for its actual purpose of travel and not as an identity proof. And as this will be our first foreign tour!!! So I asked Nikhil which country is it in?? I can still remember the look on Nikhil’s face!! He just told me to Google it and left for office.
When I searched the name in the internet I found this place in my very own country. Though disappointed by missing a foreign tour, I went through the pictures and write ups on this place in Himachal and instantly fell in love with it. And so off we were on our adventure. Our tour follows:
Shimla is 7 to 8 hours journey from New Delhi and we took a Volvo bus run by Himachal Tourism from Delhi. Though we were little hesitant about this bus journey we found it comfortable and were ready to enjoy Shimla the next morning.
Day One – Shimla:
Shimla the Capital of Himachal Pradesh is often termed as “Queen of Hills.” It is located in North West Himalayas at an altitude of about 2200 meters. The weather here was a mixture of sunshine and clouds. We started our day with the visit to Christ Church which was very near to the hotel we stayed. This is said to be the second oldest Church in Northern India. We spent some time looking at the Majestic architecture and left for our next place of the day called Naldehra Golf course. Naldehra is about 22 kms from Shimla city. Here before we could know what is happening we were made to sit on the Horse back to have a look at the Golf course. It was the first ever time I ever rode on a horse back. Initially it felt little scary but, soon we felt like Maharaja and Maharani on the horses. It was an hour and a half ride through the lush green golf course. We stopped at a Nag Mandir built in the greenery. On our way we enjoyed the view of Pine trees and valleys and a far off view of river Sutlej.
After spending quiet a lot of time on horse back we were hungry and had a nice food at a road side hotel and started for our next stop at Kufri.
Kufri is situated 16 kms from Shimla city. Being located at the highest point it receives the first snow fall of Shimla District. There is a Fun park situated here and we came to know that the only way we can reach there is by Horse riding. So again we were on horseback on our way to The Fun Park, The so called road which leads to the park is completely covered with mud and stones. We came to know that about 1100 horses work here operated by Himachal Tourism. These are trained horses and were taking us through the serpentine roads facing deep fall at one side following their counterparts without disturbing the line. After an hour of ride we finally reached our destination. The Fun parks houses a small garden, a skiing zone (for winters) and few valley view points. At the time we reached there it started to drizzle and everything around was covered by fog. So we could not see much there. There were many Yaks, the King of snow here. Though these are used only for photo purpose, the animal looked very interesting and friendly too. I too jumped on one to have my photo. After spending some time around in Kufri, we decided to go back. Again on horseback. Finally after about 45 minutes we were back to our car and headed to the place called Lalit Cafe where the Shimla Agreement was discussed between Indira Gandhi and Benazir Bhutto. It houses a Cafe and a garden. By this time the sky was completely covered by clouds and we decided to leave for Shimla.
On our way back we stopped to see the Green valley of Shimla. Our guide said that the valley is spread almost 25 kms and full of Pine trees. The valley was covered by fog and only we could see is the white foggy valley in place of Green!!
At the time we entered Shimla it was evening and it had started to rain and we decided to retire for the day.
Day Two – Manali:
The second day of our tour was to go to Manali. Manali is 360 kms from Shimla another beautiful Hill station. It was a day long journey so we packed as early as possible and left for our next destination.
Enroute Manali: The weather was perfect with no signs of rains though sometimes it was cloudy enough to hide the mountains from our view. The first stop was at Sundar Lake. A beautiful lake just outside the beautiful town Sundarnagar near Mandi. Lake is surrounded by huge mountains and a good place to stop on the long journey.
The next stop was Pandoh Hydel project on river Beas. We could hear the roaring of the river from a distance where the dam is constructed. We stopped here for some time to see the water flowing in its full force on the other side of the dam. For Manali, we have to cross the bridge built over the dam. Fully surrounded by mountains with huge trees, this place is a must stop.
The next stop was at Kullu where we did river rafting in the River Beas. It was a first time experience for both of us. Little nervous we climbed the boat in the jackets provided by the organiser. Initially it felt little scary as both of us are non swimmers but, it was safe and we enjoyed every bit of 7 km long rafting in the ice cold waters of Beas.
After visiting the famous shawl factory of Kullu (Caveat Emptor – Don’t fall for the Chingu scheme), we finally reached our hotel at Manali in late evening.
Day Three – Manali:
Vashishta Temple: Our first stop in Manali was the Vashistha Temple in village Vashishta situated 3 kms from Manali. The temple is believed to be 4,000-year-old temple dedicated to sage Vashisht.
The temple is also famous for its hot sulphur springs. According to legend, Lakshmana who visited this ashram of Vashisht found that his guru had to go far off for his bath. He shot an arrow at this place and hot water sprang out. Shower-fitted Turkish style bathrooms have made the spring a popular spot used mostly by locals and was dirty.
Inside the temple there is a black stone image of the Rishi, clad in dhoti. On the left side of the spring, there is a Rama temple in which the idols of Rama, Sita and Lakshmana have been installed.
Hadimba/ Hidimba Devi Temple: After spending some time at the Vashishta temple and savouring the beauty of the surrounding mountains and valleys, we left for Hadimba Temple. This temple is located in middle of the forest Dhungiri Van Vihar amidst the huge Deodhar Trees. The temple was built in 1553 and dedicated to Hadimba Rakshashi of Mahabharat as she ruled these mountains. The temple is four storeyed and has a Pagoda styled architecture. Spending sometime amidst the huge Deodhars, our next stop was The Clubhouse.
Club House: As far as I am concerned it is just a modern tourist attraction and nothing else. It had some water sports like river crossing, a boating and few game centres. We had a quick look around and left for the Tibetian Monastery.
Tibetan Monastery: We visited the Tibetan Monastery near Tibetan Market. A beautiful statue of Bhagvan Buddha in the centre is truly divine. The calm and quiet surroundings of the monastery were a welcome change amidst the crowded areas we went earlier.
We just strolled down the Tibetian market and Mall Road of Manali for some time and retired for the day as, the next morning we had to leave for our Main attraction of this tour, Spiti Valley.
Spiti Valley – The Hidden Paradise
As per our drivers request, we decided to leave hotel as early as 3 am the next day to reach Kaza by 3 pm. The hurdle for the trip was Rohtang Pass as the day before, there was a Landslide and the traffic was still to be cleared. We reached Rohtang pass at about 5 am and before we could reach, we saw the long line of vehicles. So here we were about 7 kms from main Zero Point of Rohtang Pass stuck in a Traffic Jam!! The morning was a real beauty, Green valleys, huge mountains, snow capped peaks, rivers and the sun playing hide and seek with the clouds. The nature was at its Best here. At this point we were really happy being stuck in a traffic jam as otherwise we could not have enjoyed this beauty!!
3 hours went on and there was no sign of our Sumo moving an inch. We were at a single point all three hours and slowly the cars started moving. Oh, that’s great we will reach Kaza in time!! But, what happened next was unbelievable. The traffic was so slow due to a major landslide that it took us full 8 hours to Pass The Great Rohtang Pass!! Crossing the Landslide zone was a nightmare. The road was muddy and our driver had to struggle controlling the vehicle. The police were allowing one vehicle at a time to cross the particular landslide zone. And above all rain had started and curtailing our speed too. Muddy slippery road with steep valley on one side and huge mountain wall on the other. It was most scary road I have ever travelled which made me remember all 3 crore Gods!! Due to snow fall in winters Rohtang is closed for 6 months in a year. And to clear the snow the big bulldozers are used because of which roads are always in bad condition. Even huge military vehicles have to cross this very road to transport ration and ammunition to the base in Ladakh.
Finally we reached Gramphu village at around 2.30 and stopped for lunch. From this village the road splits to Spiti to the east and Leh in the west. The view though fully covered with clouds was awesome!! After having a quick meal of Hot Maggie Noodles, we turned right to our destination Spiti Valley.
Spiti valley too don’t have proper tar roads but, after travelling the roads of Rohtang we found this uneven road as Express Highway!! No traffic and No rains too !! The mountains were so huge with bushes and many water falls falling from the top and deep valley where the River Chandra was flowing in full force. Suddenly the view changed as if by waving a magic wand, enter the most desolate place. No traffic, no human beings at all in sight. A view of harsh beauty of Mother Nature. Slowly as we proceeded into the valley I thought we were in completely alien land. We were crossing nalas (water fall from glaciers) the road was both sides covered with huge rocks, small bushes of colourfull flowers and River Chandra down below. Soon cold wind started blowing and we wore our jackets.
We were enjoying the land so much that we did not even realise that we are at Baatal which is a base camp for the Chandrataal trekking. Though our first stay was supposed to be at Kaza (which is the headquarters of Spiti),we had to stay at Baatal due to traffic at Rohtang. And what a place it was. Amidst the great Himalayas, small Dhaba called Chandra Dhaba run by a Buddhist couple was a great choice of stay we ever did. We rented a tent from the couple who were very friendly and caring. After having a hot mint tea and some chit chat with them, we decided to take rest. The cold wind had started to blow, we really needed to cover ourselves for the night. As the night began, the wind took its toll on us. It was almost 1 degree or low at that time. We had a dinner of the most delicious Roti and daal and retired for the day. We both had severe headache due to altitude and as this was known to us, we had purchased “Diamox” tablet at Manali which proved to be a lifesaver.
Day One in Spiti:
We woke up to the bright sunshine falling through the small window of our tent and we just peeked out of the window. Alas, the scene outside was breath-taking. We literally ran out of the tent to see the Great Himalaya which was hidden behind thick clouds the earlier day. The sky was clean blue the wind had stopped and the morning was really pleasant. We just sat in the dhabha with our hot mint tea and savoured the beauty of the place. The view is still crystal clear in front of my eyes even today!!
After finishing our breakfast of Hot Parathas, we moved towards our next destination Kaza. En route Kaza we crossed the highest place of Spiti and one of the main passes of India called Kunzum La. There is Kunzum La Devi temple here. Every vehicle passing through Kunzumla stops here to take darshan of Kunzumla Devi and take her blessings. We too stopped here for a while. Surrounded by snow pack mountains and small flowery bushes, this place is amazingly beautiful.
After Kunzum La, the next brief stop was Lohsar where there is a check post to enter the Spiti valley. Lohsar houses few guest houses for tourists. A beautiful town set up amidst the greenery of the green peas farms which is the main commercial crop of this valley also.
Every turn in Spiti has a different view to showcase. We were simply crossing huge mountains with rocks of different colours and textures. Each one has its own unique feature and grandeur. At around 2 o’clock in the afternoon we reached the main and biggest city of the Spiti valley Kaza which is a beautiful town situated in a valley surrounded by monstrous mountains. We checked into our hotel Snow Lion, which is one of the famous hotels of Kaza. After having lunch and taking some rest we decided to visit the First Monastery of our itinerary, The Kee Monastery.
Kee monastery or Gompa as it is called in local Spitian language is situated around 10 kms from Kaza and is on top of a hill. Like bells in Hindu temples, the monastery has prayer bells too, which rings when rotated clock wise. The serene and calm environment of the gompa was a welcome after a long drive from Baatal. A monk or Lama escorted us through the monastery and explained us about the monastery. This monastery is visited by Dalai Lama. There are ancient Buddhist scriptures preserved here. After sipping the aromatic tea offered by the monks and spending some time around the gompa, we left for the next stop Kibber village.
Kibber is situated about 4,500 meters above sea level and said to be the highest electrified and motorable village in the world. The view from the village and of the village was just outstanding. A small village with similar looking houses also has a couple of guest houses for tourists visiting here. We took an evening stroll on the roads of the highest village amongst the kids playing on the roads before leaving to Kaza.
Kaza houses all the government departments for the Lahaul and Spiti district, It has a hospital, school, market place, ATM and the only Petrol Pump in the district. The population must be around 600.
Day Two in Spiti:
After having breakfast we left for Langza and Komic villages. This village is situated at the base of huge mountains and amidst greenery of the fields. There are two villages Upper Langza and Lower langza. Langza has an Huge statue of Bhagwan Buddha. The place is very picturesque. It was the most bluest Azure sky ever seen in my life with different shades of blue. All around you are the mountains some green, some rugged hiding behind them are the snow capped mountains. It was windy and cold in the mid-morning too. After spending some time in the serene environment, we left for Komic.
We decided to take a small trek / walk from Langza to Komic with our guide Tashi escorting us through the mountains. Though the trek was of only around 2 kms it took us almost 2 hours to reach. The weather was a mixture of bright sunshine accompanied with cold wind. Though I am not fond of trekking I enjoyed it and actually it was not that tough too except few steep descends and ascends. On our way we came across the village Hikkam. Every village in Spiti is set up in a lovely background and this was not an exception. As we went up the hill we noticed a square built with stones and flag on it and our guide told us that it is called La which marks the boundary of villages i. e. beginning of one village and the end of another. So different isn’t it? Finally we reached the road which leads to Komic Monastery. We were out of breath with no energy to walk a step further, and literally sitting on the side of the road to get ourselves to normal. Looking at our tired smiles towards them, the monks walking there took pity on us and offered us lunch at their place.
The food was simple but, delicious consisting of Daal, chawal, sabzi and pickle and a speciality food of Spiti called Timuk made with Atta or wheat flour. This was accompanied with the Namkeen chay (Buttered Tea) another speciality found in Spiti. We were overwhelmed by the hospitality of the lama called Nyima who served us this mouth-watering lunch at his humble abode in the monastery.
After getting the much needed energy we went to see the Gompa. This too is a very old monastery and was peaceful for the mind. Spending some time in the prayer hall we decided to move back to Kaza.
In the evening we visited the Kaza monastery. This monastery was built in the year 2009 and inaugurated by Dalai Lama. Being new the architecture is so beautiful with vibrant colours painted in and out of the place, not leaving even the ceilings. The huge prayer hall was decorated with Prayer flags consisting of Blue, Yellow, White, Red and Green colours each colour having its own importance and meaning.
In every monastery we can see the Prayer flags, Thankas – the paintings on clothes,of Buddha, seating for Lamas at the time of prayers, oil lamps, offerings to the God by devotees, the Buddhist scriptures amongst the many, apart from the Huge statues of Bhagwan Buddha,
We spent some time here and decided to retire for the day.
Day Three in Spiti:
Our itinerary for today was Dhangkar Monastery and Tabo. We checked out of the hotel as our next stay was in Tabo another main city of Lahaul and Spiti District. So we were on our way to Dhangkar which houses an Old and a new monastery. In entire Spiti, vehicles here cannot speed more than 10 to 15 km per hour due to the uphills and dirt roads and the U pin curves. But, this does not make the journey boring at all. Every next turn here has something new to offer. The river Spiti silently accompanies all through the journey in the deep valley below and the mountains make you feel so small in front Mother Nature.
It took us about 2 hours to reach Dhangkar (about 30 kms). First we visited the old monastery which is said to be a thousand year old and certified as heritage building by UNESCO. Built with mud and stones, inside of the Gompa is serene and calm. There is a cave inside the monastery where monks used to sit for meditation for days together. We could see the beautiful village Dhangkar from atop the Gompa. We paid homage to Lord Buddha and meditated in the peace. After the meditation, we were refreshed. From atop the Monastery, one can see the beautiful confluence of the Spiti and Pin rivers.
We next went to see the New Dhangkar gompa. This too like Kaza is painted with vibrant colours and paintings. The monks here too offered us hot tea and biscuits in the lavish sitting room of the New Gompa. After capturing the surrounding views we decided to leave for our next stay Tabo.
Dhangkar has a Lake situated in the other side of the mountains, which we needed to climb ourselves. Looking at the climb we decided unanimously to skip the lake for this tour and visit it in our next. Yes, we are going to Spiti again as it is a place we fell in Love with.
Passing through many small villages some having a population of 10 to 15 we reached Tabo, where we had a Home Stay. Home stay is actually living in the house of locals and sharing the home made food and getting to know the local culture from close quarters. And every town in Spiti offers home stays.
The home we stayed was though has the local touch was newly built and modern. The host gave us a warm welcome. We decided to take rest for some time before going for Dinner.
Dinner was a local delight called Thentuk. Pieces of wheat boiled in vegetable curry. This is a staple food of the locals. The meal was sumptuous and we met a couple from Austria and got a chance to have some talk with them before retiring for the day. The Austrian couple had been to Spiti for doing research on the fossils found in Spiti. Millions of years ago, there was a huge ocean before the Himalayas were born. When the Indian mainland separated from Africa and collided into Asia, the sea disappeared and the Himalayas were born. Due to this, the sea dried up and the sea animals were fossilised. When you go to Spiti, ask anyone to show you “Spitian Shells” and you will be shown these fossils as there are millions of them, which are older than the Himalayas themselves!!! We saw an interesting specimen of such fossil preserved by Sonam, the home stay owner. Amazing!!
Day Four in Spiti:
We started our day with a visit to the Tabo Monastery which is exactly 1014 years old. Yes, completed its 1000 years in the year 1996. Said to be built by Angels in one night (“Aliens” as Nikhil says) this is a very big and well maintained place looking at its age. Every prayer hall has old paintings and statues. Many Stupas made of Mud are around the Gompa in its premises. This has many small prayer halls to see each decorated with age old paintings. It took more than an hour to see all the small prayer halls here.
Then we proceeded to see the New Tabo monastery which is built recently. The Stupa outside the monastery was one of the most beautiful stupas ever seen. Very beautifully painted with nice bright colours which attract one instantly amidst the landscape, mindblowing!!!
The next place today was Mudh in Pin Valley the greenest place of Spiti and gets highest snow fall during winters. On our way we visited Kungri Monastery where we witnessed the Pooja performed by Lamas. It was an out of the world experience. The chanting of mantras or Buddist scriptures and sound of the bells, the smell of the incense sticks, the diyas everything was so divine. We sat through the prayer and felt connected to The Almighty in such an amazing place.
The surrounding of the Kungri monastry too was exceptionally beautiful.
Next we proceeded towards Mudh. Passing many small, beautifully set up villages we reached Mudh. Today our stay was at a Guest house. The room was nice, clean and decent with a common Bathroom.
The evening view of the mountains was awesome. The sun was shining over the peeks of snow-capped mountains, there was greenery everywhere. We took a walk through the village up to a glacier nearby. The glaciers melt and feed the rivers. Though from far, the glacier look small they are humongous.
After spending time there, we decided to come back to the guest house and retire for the day.
Day Five in Spiti:
The view in front of us was mesmerising. The colours of nature were shining in the sunshine, the blue sky, the Snow Mountains, the glaciers, the greenery and the sun. What else one would want? True, that you need not to be a good photographer if you come here. Every shot you take here is picture perfect. We had our morning tea and breakfast watching this spectacular view. We witnessed the all famous Bara Shigri Glacier which is the largest glacier in the district. This being our last day of tour both of us were not ready to leave early. But, we had to as we were to reach Kaza after visiting last monastery in our itinerary called Lallung.
Spending as much time possible and taking in all the pureness of nature within, we left for Lallung. It was a perfect day. Throughout we could see the crystal clear sky in the background of The Great Himalayas. There may not be a single spot where we didn’t stop our vehicle to savour the beauty. We stopped at the fields, river bridges, villages everywhere to feel the nature.
Finally we reached Lalung Monastery. We left the green mountains slowly as we neared Lalung. Here the landscape is again different with rugged, sandy, snow-capped mountains.
Local legends say that Lalung was built by Angels in one night. The Angels left suddenly as an old local lady saw them working in the dawn. Otherwise this monastery would have been the largest one. Entirely built by mud this houses the oldest paintings and sculptures painted with Gold. There are no lights allowed inside the gompa as bright lights can damage the colours of the art here.
On our way we saw a village called Demul situated between two giant mountains. What a place it was!! We came back to Kaza our next stay to witness the Birth Day celebrations of Dalai Lama on 6th of July. Our guide Tashi and driver Angdui told us that there are going to be many cultural programmes where monks from all the monasteries perform. We decided to stay and watch the program as this will be an icing on the cake!!
Day Six in Spiti:
Next day morning we could see the festive environment in the Kaza Gompa from our hotel balcony. We hurriedly got ready so that we can catch a good seat to sit and watch the programmes. But, the procession of the monastery started at around 10 with the Photo of the Dalai Lama kept in a Doli like thing carried by four people with the various musical instruments playing in front of the procession and chanting of Buddhist mantras started. The procession entered the market of Kaza town and we too like true Buddhist followers followed the procession. It was altogether a different experience and we came to see the entire Kaza town while moving with the procession. After the procession, an hour and a half programme initiated with the prayer of Gurus from all the monasteries and welcome speech and then the welcome song in the Kaza Monastery. After few other entertainment programmes from school children finally the main attraction of the day started with the monks from Tabo monastery performing a traditional dance. Wow, The monks were wearing extravagant vibrant dresses with hats and sword in hand. The dance moves were so peculiar and elegant. It was a feast for eyes. We enjoyed it to the fullest. The music, the dress, the steps and the way they performed mesmerised everyone for about 15 -20 minutes. It was disappointing for us that only one team of monks performed that day due to some reason.
Lunch was served to everyone present on the occasion (free of course). For the first time in our stay, we saw so many Spitians at a time, adorned in their best dresses. It was festival for all of them. We got an opportunity (Special Honour) to have the delicious meal with the Lamas at their dining place. Great experience!!
We had an out of the world experience in Spiti. The people are peace loving and very friendly. Far away from commercial tourism, this place was a great pleasure to be in. The culture, the language, food everything here has its unique feel. Even strangers greet you saying Jule (Hello in Spiti) with a friendly smile.
We dearly miss visiting the Chandertaal Lake, the most beautiful lake in the world. The road to the lake was still not cleared up and involved a 14 km hectic trek for which we didn’t have time.
If you really want to take a holiday, come to Spiti, because there is no mobile coverage except BSNL and hence no calls at all.
Hidden behind the layers of Himalayas, Spiti is Truly a Hidden Paradise and we surely are hungry for more!!!!
For more photos we took, click here (highly recommended!!!).
P.S.: Our guide and driver told us that ISRO scientists including Dr. Anil Kulkarni had come to study the retreating glaciers of the Himalayas and they had spotted a UFO at Samudra Tapur near Chandrataal lake. Nikhil jumped on hearing this and after some research on the internet, he corroborated this information. Now he wants to search for ETs at Chandrataal region (Samudra Tapu) himself too ;-). So right now, I am sure that we are visiting Chandrataal in near future. For more info on this, click here and here and also our blog post on such topics here and here.
I am not such a great follower of cricket nor an ardent fan follower of Sachin, but thought that I will not be out of place by putting up this compilation during the CWC World Cup 2011 fever. Check it out!!
Following is a compilation of quotes from current and former cricketers and other eminent personalities paying tribute to Indian batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar:
“It can be said that he is the Bradman of our times and I do feel privileged to have played a lot of cricket against him.” – Former Australian captain Steve Waugh.
“I think, apart from Sir Garfield Sobers nobody else has played 20 years in international cricket and 20 years playing at the very highest level and to the very highest standard is an achievement beyond compare.” – Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar.
“He continues to give more than 100 per cent and his schoolboy-like enthusiasm for the game is something I envy and admire. For the team he is the best available coaching manual.” – Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
“There will never be another Sachin Tendulkar.” – Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiash Muralitharan.
“The way he has taken on the role of India’s greatest sporting ambassador… He has, among other things, inspired a generation and more to play cricket.” – India’s 1983 World Cup winning captain Kapil Dev.
“His humbleness and simplicity has helped him to achieve what others could not. His dedication is one of the main reasons for his achievements and he is role model to up and coming youngsters. In India every youngster who is in to school or college cricket wants to become a Sachin.” – Former captain and Chairman of India’s selection panel Kris Srikkanth.
“What I admire about Sachin is his humility, respect for elders and the passion for the game that he has retained even after so many years and after achieving so much in cricket. He has not changed at all.” – Former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar.
“He is a great human being, a great player and I have been very lucky to have a friend like Sachin Tendulkar. I want to wish him all the luck. I want to congratulate him for finishing his 20 years in international cricket. He has dominated world cricket for 20 years and I hope that he will continue to dominate it.” – Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh.
“I have delayed my shoots many times to watch Sachin bat” – Filmstar Amitabh Bachchan.
“…when he is in full flow, the mild-mannered boyish cricketer can look extremely intimidating. If there is a resonance, I find of myself in his batting, it is in that intent that he communicates.” – Former West Indies captain and batting great Vivian Richards.
“Over the years Sachin has remained remarkably consistent and has more records than anybody I can remember. His talent and versatility are unquestioned which is why the only question that rankles is why he did not win enough games for his team?” – Former Pakistan captain Imran Khan.
“His biggest strength as a batsman is his adaptability. And that is something really. really amazing, something so special.” – Former India captain Sourav Ganguly.
“In his life cricket comes first. When he is on tour he is thinking about nothing but cricket, and when he is not on tour he dedicates quality time to his family. That shows his dedication to the game and to his family. He has found the right balance.” - Tendulkar’s India teammate and opening partner Virender Sehwag.
“He loves cricket and with his hardwork, focus and commitment he has truly become a outstanding ambassador for the sport at a time when commercialism is so rampant.” – Former Pakistan captain and coach Javed Miandad.
“I think Tendulkar has outdone all the other greats with his hunger for the game which is amazing.” – Former Pakistan leg-spinner Abdul Qadir.
“What has impressed me the most about Tendulkar all these years is his humble and simple nature. I never saw him ever let the fame and adulation he enjoys get to his head.” – Former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul Haq.
“I don’t watch cricket much but I admire Sachin Tendulkar. I like the way he has conducted himself over the years. He has been such a huge star for so long but has not had a single controversy against his name.” -Olympic bronze medallist boxer Vijender Singh.
“The best thing about Sachin Tendulkar is that he’s completely rooted, down to earth, and a thorough gentleman. He’s probably the best thing to have happened to Indian cricket and maybe Indian sport as a whole.” – Indian tennis star Sania Mirza.
“I see him continuing until more landmarks like 50 hundreds. 100 centuries is not difficult for him because the passion for the game is still very much there even after 20 years,” – Former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif.
Both of us have come a long away and it is a great honour that Tendulkar thinks I come close to resembling him as a batsman. It is a great honour, like a dream come true. If I die tomorrow I’ll be the happiest man because I played this game because of Tendulkar, and Tendulkar himself saying that I resemble him – there is no bigger compliment than that.
I have seen GOD , he bats at no.4 for india in Tests.
He is someone sent from up there to play cricket and go back.
Sachin is crickets GOD
The shot played on this ball is only possible for the GOD of cricket.
If someoom the highest peak of the world.
What we [zimbabwe] need is 10 tendulkars.
There is no shame losing to such a great player(sachin).
I would go to bed having nightmares of sachin dancing down the ground and hitting me for sixes.
His life seems to be a stillness in a frantic world… [When he goes out to bat], it is beyond chaos – it is a frantic appeal by a nation to one man. The people see him as a God…
He is 99.5% Perfect.. I’ll pay to watch him play.
If I had to bowl to Sachin I would bowl with a halmet on. He hits the ball so hard.
After being defeated in the Coca-Cola Cup finals in Sharjah) “It was one of the greatest innings I have ever seen. There is no shame being beaten by such a great player, Sachin is perhaps only next to the Don”
Sir Don Bradman:
I saw him playing on television and was struck by his technique, so I asked my wife to come look at him. Now I never saw myself play, but I feel that this player is playing much the same as I used to play, and she looked at him on Television and said yes, there is a similarity between the two…hi compactness, technique, stroke production… it all seemed to gel! in reference to Sachin Tendulkar.
Don’t bowl him bad balls, he hits the good ones for fours.”
I’ll be going to bed having nightmares of Sachin just running down the wicket and belting me back over the head for six. He was unstoppable. I don’t think anyone, apart from Don Bradman, is in the same class as Sachin Tendulkar. He is just an amazing player.”
Today, he showed the world why he is considered the best batsman around. Some of the shots he played were simply amazing. Earlier, opposing teams used to feel that Sachin’s dismissal meant they could win the game. Today, I feel that the Indian players, too, feel this way.
Wasim Akram, after game at Hobart, CUB series, 1999
You might pitch a ball on the off stump and think you have bowled a good ball and he walks across and hits it for two behind midwicket. His bat looks so heavy but he just waves it around like it’s a toothpick. Brett Lee, on Sachin Tendulkar’s batting, 1999
I think he is marvellous. I think he will fit in whatever category of Cricket that has been played or will be played, from the first ball that has ever been bowled to the last ball that’s going to be. He can play in any era and at any level.
Consensus is that Sir Donald Bradman was the best batsman ever to play Cricket. Sir Don did not play One-Day Cricket but if he did, he could easily be Sachin Tendulkar.
Beneath the helmet, under that unruly curly hair, inside the cranium, there is something we don’t know, something beyond scientific measure. Something that allows him to soar, to roam a territory of sport that, forget us, even those who are gifted enough to play alongside him cannot even fathom. When he goes out to bat, people switch on their television sets and switch off their lives.
“I dont know what to bowl at him. i bowled an inswinger n he drove me thr covers of d front foot. then i bld an outswinger n he again punched thr covers of d backfoot. he is d toughest batsmen i ‘ve bowled to. he shold live long n score lots of runs, but not against pakistan(smiling) “–LEGENDARY WASIM AKRAM on our own SACHIN on 24th april 2004 on espn Sachin’s 30th B day program.(i think) on his knock in 2003 worldcup.
India’s fortune will depend on how many runs the little champion scores. There is no doubt Tendulkar is the real thing.
He has defined cricket in his fabulous, impeccable manner. He is to batting what Shane Warne is to bowling.
Technically, you can’t fault Sachin. Seam or spin, fast or slow nothing is a problem.
He is Sachin Tendulkar. I hope he stays Sachin Tendulkar. We need a new player, a player in his own way. He has a technique which is the hallmark of a great player. Everything indicates that he will be a great player and I am sure he will prove me right. Reminds me of Barry Richards.
He is a perfectly balanced batsman and knows perfectly well when to attack and when to play defensive cricket. He has developed the ability to treat bowlers all over the world with contempt and can destroy any attack with utmost ease.
I was fielding in the covers, Tendulkar came out to bat in his debut Test at Karachi. I still remember Waqar Younis was at his peak form at that time. Tendulkar tried to drive Waqar through the covers off his very first ball in Test cricket but was beaten all ends up. But I walked to captain Imran Khan and told him ‘this kid looks very good’ and Imran agreed with me.
Sir Garfield Sobers:
I have watched a lot of Tendulkar and we have spoken to each other a lot. He has it in him to be among the very best.
Sometime back I had written a piece that said that Sachin’s the master and Lara a genius with his head high up somewhere. That’s it!
Sachin is an attacker. He has much more power than Sunny. He wants to be the one to set the pace. He has to be on top. That’s the buzz about him.
Tendulkar is the most comouncy pitch with Hughes, McDermott and Whitney gunning for him he only had 60-odd when No 11 came in. I’ve seen him against Warne too.
Sachin’s the best. I’ve had this view since I saw him score that hundred in Sydney in 1992. He’s the most composed batsman I’ve ever seen.
“Sachin Tendulkar is, in my time, the best player without doubt – daylight second, Brian Lara third.”
Shane Warne delights the Indian press with his views on batting greats of this era
“Maybe the country doesn’t pray for me like they do for Sachin Tendulkar, but I know I’m on a good wicket as well. “
“Sachin was so focused. He never looked like getting out. He was batting with single-minded devotion. It was truly remarkable. It was a lesson.”
Tennis legend joins the Sachin Tendulkar fan club after watching him bat at Sydney.
After loosing to India in the Coca Cola Cup final at Sharjah in November ’98
“He has everything a top batsman needs. Tendulkar is a classic example of a player being so good that his age is an irrelevance”
“Technically he stands out as the best because of his ability to increase the pace at will”
Cricket Historian Vasant Raiji:
“I have always felt C. K. Nayadu was the best. I now think sachin has the honour of being the most outstanding batsman of all time.”
“You take Don Bradman away and he is next up I reckon.”
“In an over I can bowl six different balls. But then Sachin looks at me with a sort of gentle arrogance down the pitch as if to say ‘Can you bowl me another one?'”
He is cool, has magnificent temperament, and is so mature you tend to forget his age. I can’t think of any other example of a player who has so dominated the world before the age of 25.
Allan Border: (after India won the Coca-Cola cup )
“Hell, if he stayed, even at 11 an over he would have got it.”
“I can’t dream of an innings like that. He exists where we can’t.”
“In the last session in Nagpur, when the Indian chase was still on, Tendulkar hit a reverse sweep, an orthodox sweep and a lofted cover drive to (Ian) Blackwell. They were all exquisite cricket shots. To play those shots deliberately in such quick succession, off almost similar deliveries, was genius. That was a little jewel, just those 3-4 minutes.
“It reminds you how very few people are special. It was a case of great thinking and good technique.”
Gavaskar..back in 1988 to tom alter
I sat in the office of Sportsweek magazine with that same Sunil Gavaskar. Ayaz Memon and I were listening to Gavaskar in one of his rare, priceless moods. The ?Little Master? was delving deep into his own experience, his own genius, and bringing forth pearls of wisdom as sudden, and as effective, as his straight- drives back past the bowler. Then Gavaskar came up with the following statement (remember, this was in 1988, when Dilip Vengsarkar was about to become captain of India): “The two best batsmen in Bombay today are Vengsarkar and Sachin Tendulkar.” Full stop. End of statement. The ball crosses the boundary-line underneath the sight- screen.
In terms of technique and compactness, Tendulkar is the best: Desmond Haynes.
He’s a phenomenon. We have to be switched on when he plays allow him no boundries, for then he doesn’t stop
“Cricketers like Sachin come once in a lifetime and I am privileged he played in my time,”
His shot selection is superb, he just lines you up and can make you look very silly. Everything is right in his technique and judgement. There isn’t a fault there. He is also a lovely guy, and over the years I’ve enjoyed some interesting chats with him… Sachin is in a different class to Lara as a professional cricketer. He is a model cricketer, and despite the intolerable pressures he faces back home, he remains a really nice guy… Sachin is also the best batsman in the world, pulling away from Brain Lara every year…
Anil Kumble -he’s shy little gentleman
I am very privileged to have played with him and seen most of the runs that he has scored. I am also extremely happy to have shared the same dressing room… He is a very reserved person and generally keeps to himself. He is very determined, committed and doesn’t show too many emotions. He just goes about doing his job.
The thing I admire most about this man is his poise. The way he moves, elegantly without ever looking out of place in any condition or company, suggests his pedigree. I remember he had once come to New Delhi in the 1990s to collect his Arjuna Award (India’s highest award to its top sportspersons) and he asked me if I would attend the function. He is a very sensitive human being….
Sometimes you feel he really hasn’t felt the kind of competition in the world his talent deserves. I would have loved to see him perform against top quality cricketers of the previous generation. It would really have brought out the best in him.
Tendulkar is the best in the world at the moment. Why I’ve always liked him is that batsmen tend to be negative at times and I think batting is not about not getting out – it is to play positively. I think you got to take it to the bowlers and Sachin is one such player. When you do so, you change the game, you change bowlers because they suddenly start bowling badly because they are under pressure.
Whenever I see Sachin play I am reminded of the Graeme Pollock quote of Cricket being a ‘see the ball, hit the ball game.’ He hits the ball as if it’s there to be hit.
“We always knew that Sachin Tendulkar is a great cricketer, but after the Coca-Cola Cup here, we have seen the birth of a legend. I can’t think of anybody who has batted more authoritatively in one day cricket for India, or even in the world except for Vivian Richards.”
“His mind is like a computer. He stores data on bowlers and knows where they are going to pitch the ball.”
Playing in the same team as Sachin is a huge honour. His balance of mind, shrewd judgement, modesty and, above all, his technical brilliance make him my all-time hero… You can’t get a more complete cricketer than Sachin. He has everything that a cricketer needs to have.
As a batsman, he has the technique, the hunger and the desire for runs. He always contributes with the bat as well as on the field. He also is a good fielder and bowls when needs. You really can’t ask for a better cricketer than Sachin… He is a terrific person and has handled pressure brilliantly. He has handled his success very well and doesn’t have any airs about him. He is a great guy and very good team man. In his heart of hearts, he is a very simple and down to earth person.
The more I see him, the more I want to see him.
India’s fortune will depend on how many runs the little champion scores. There is no doubt Tendulkar is the real thing
if sachin plays well..india sleeps well
The thing I like most about Sachin is his intensity. After being in the game for so long, he still has the same desire to do well for India in any international match.I tell you what, this man is a legend.
“He is the only match-winning batsman we have”
“You get him out and half the battle is won”
There are 2 kind of batsmen in the world. One Sachin Tendulkar. Two all the others.
A flighted full toss on Leg stump by spinner. any other will play this shot on leg side by pull shot or glance or flick. but sachin made a space and played a perfect cover drive for four runs.
Martin Crowe (New Zealand’s ever best bats man) said ” the shot played on this ball is only possible for GOD Of CRICKET “
You have to decide for yourself whether you’re bowling well or not. He’s going to hit you for fours and sixes anyway. Kasprowicz has a superior story. During the Bangalore Test, frustrated, he went to Dennis Lillee and asked, “Mate, do you see any weaknesses?” Lillee replied, “No Michael, as long as you walk off with your pride that’s all you can do”.
“I never get tired during umpiring whenever sachin is on crease”
This was after a wonderful century by sachin(in england i guess in a test match..not sure)
Sunny: The other day i was just trying to think of a bowler who can go through sachin’s defenses when sachin is in total defense. I am sorry but i could not think of even one name who could do that. If sachin decides he doesnt want to give away his wicket, he wont. be it any bowler in the world.
Cheers to Sachin…
Ponting make comparisons btn sachin,Lara& jayasuriya.
Sachin is the best ever batsman in the world. He is brilliant in his technique. He is always hungry for runs. Sachin is better than Lara in his techniques & thats why he is No.1 among others. On his day,Lara will be more destructive. He is the only man 2 fight for west indies. Jayasuriya also played gr8 knocks 4 his team. But compared 2 them Sachin is the BEST
Pradeep Mandhani ..a Photographer
“Barely two hours after landing in Johannesburg on the 1992-93 tour to South Africa, the team was to visit Tolstoy Farm, Mahatma Gandhi’s first Satyagrahi Commune founded in 1910. It was situated 35 kms from Jo’burg and most of the Indian players showed little interest, longing to rest in the hotel after the long flight. But Tendulkar, still a teenager, looked keen and hungry to learn more about Gandhi. His volley of questions to the guide reflected his national pride.”
NKP Salve, former Union Minister
This was when he was accused of ball tempering
“Sachin cannot cheat. He is to cricket what (Mahatma) Gandhiji was to politics. It’s clear discrimination.”
“In my several years of international cricket, Tendulkar remains the best batsman I have ever bowled to. It’s been a pleasure to bowl at the master batsman even though one hasn’t always emerged with credit from the engagements.”
“During our team meetings, we often speak about the importance of the first 12 balls to Tendulkar. If you get him then you can thank your stars, otherwise it could mean that tough times lie ahead.”
SACHIN MADE 9 CENTURIES IN ONE YEAR BUT MANY CRICKETER DIDNOT MAKE 9 CENTURIES IN THEIR WHOLE CARRIER.
“Sachin is the most complete batsman I have seen. His technique is so good and he has played well in all conditions. To have 41 one-day international tons shows what an appetite he has for scoring runs.”
There’s no better sight on the cricket field than watch Tendulkar bat.
Rev David Shepherd.
“Sachin Tendulkar! If he isn’t the best player in the world, I want to see the best player in the world”.
“Nothing bad can happen to us if we’re on a plane in India with Sachin Tendulkar on it.”
-Hashim Amla, the South African batsman, reassures himself as he boards a flight
“Sometimes you get so engrossed in watching batsmen like Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar that you lose focus on your job.”
“To Sachin, the man we all want to be”
– What Andrew Symonds wrote on an aussie t-shirt he autographed specially for Sachin
“Beneath the helmet, under that unruly curly hair, inside the cranium, there is something we don’t know, something beyond scientific measure. Something that allows him to soar, to roam a territory of sport that, forget us, even those who are gifted enough to play alongside him cannot even fathom. When he goes out to bat, people switch on their TV sets and switch off their lives”
-BBC on Sachin
-But the finest compliment must be that, bookmakers would not fix the odds – or a game – until Tendulkar was out.
“Tuzhe pata hai tune kiska catch chhoda hai?”
-Wasim Akram to Abdul Razzaq when the latter dropped Sachin’s catch during the India Pakistan match in the 2003 World Cup.
“Sachin is a genius. I’m a mere mortal.”
-Brian Charles Lara
“We did not lose to a team called India…we lost to a man called Sachin”
-Mark Taylor, during the test match in Chennai (1997)
“The more I see of him the more confused I’m getting to which is his best knock.”
-M. L. Jaisimha
“The joy he brings to the millions of his countrymen, the grace with which he handles all the adulation and the expectations and his innate humility -all make for a one-in-a-billion individual”
“I can be hundred per cent sure that Sachin will not play for a minute longer when he is not enjoying himself. He is still so eager to go out there and play. He will play as long as he feels he can play.”
-Anjali, Sachin’s Wife
“Even my father’s name is Sachin Tendulkar.”
-Tendulkar’s daughter, Sara, tells her class her father’s name after the teacher informs them of a restaurant of the same name in Mumbai.
“I am fortunate that I’ve to bowl at him only in the nets!”
Question: Who do you think as most important celebrity ?
Shahrukh: There was a big party where stars from bollywood and cricket were invited. Suddenly, there was a big noise, all wanted to see approaching Amitabh Bachhan. Then Sachin entered the hall and Amitabh was leading the queue to get a grab of the GENIUS!!
-A quote of Shahrukh Khan from one of his interviews
“India me aap PrimeMinister ko ek Baar Katghare me khada kar sakte hain..Par Sachin Tendulkar par Ungli nahi utha Sakte..”
-Navjot Singh Sidhu
“He can play that leg glance with a walking stick also .”
“I WILL SEE GOD WHEN I DIE BUT TILL THEN I WILL SEE SACHIN “
-Displayed on a banner at a cricket ground
“Sachin Tendulkar has often reminded me of a veteran army colonel who has many medals on his chest to show how he has conquered bowlers all over the world. “
– Allan Donald
“I was bowling to Sachin and he hit me for two fours in a row. One from point and the other in between point and gully. That was the last two balls of the over and the over after that we (SA) took a wicket and during the group meeting i told Jonty (Rhodes) to be alert and i know a way to pin Sachin. And i delivered the first ball of my next over and it was a fuller length delevery outside offstump. And i shouted catch. To my astonishment the ball was hit to the cover boundary. Such was the brilliance of Sachin. His reflex time is the best i have ever seen. Its like 1/20th of a sec. To get his wicket better not prepare. Atleast u wont regret if he hits you for boundaries.”
-From Allan Donald’s interview in Cricket Talk.
“On a train from Shimla to Delhi, there was a halt in one of the stations. The train stopped by for few minutes as usual. Sachin was nearing century, batting on 98. The passengers, railway officials, everyone on the train waited for Sachin to complete the century. This Genius can stop time in India!!”
- Peter Rebouck – Aussie Journalist
“Sachin cannot cheat. He is to cricket what (Mahatma) Gandhiji was to politics. It’s clear discrimination.”
-NKP Salve, former Union Minister. This was when he was accused of ball tempering.
“There are 2 kind of batsmen in the world. One Sachin Tendulkar. Two all the others.”
“I think he will fit in whatever category of cricket that has been played.. He can play in any era and at any level. I would say he is 99.5 % perfect.”
“Commit all your crimes when Sachin is batting, they will go unnoticed, bcouz even Lord is busy watching him play”
-A banner in Sydney by the Australian fans
He has been in form longer than some of our guys have been alive
Test cricket is bloody hard work, especially when you’ve got Sachin batting with what looks like a three-metre-wide bat
I have joked before that there is a good chance that I might retire before Tendulkar
He’s not going to sleep for a week.
That Porsche comment … why would I say that to Tendulkar? He’s got aeroplanes.
Why did you get out to such a silly shot?
As we were planning for a short and sweet holiday, the obvious choice for both of us was Ever green holiday destination Goa. So unanimously (which happens very rarely!!!) we headed out for Goa in our Car. Panjim is about 225 kms from Kolhapur. It was a good time to test our GPS by MapMyIndia Navigator . We booked our hotel at Candolim from where almost all North Goa beaches are nearby. On our first day we decided to visit Old Goa which is outside Panjim and about 25 kms from Candolim. Our tour itinerarywas:
- Basilica of BOM Jesus: This Basilica is famous throughout the Roman Catholic world. It contains the tomb and mortal remains of St Francis Xavier who, in 1541, was given the task of spreading Christianity among the subjects of the Portuguese colonies in the East. There is a modern art gallery attached to the Basilica which is a collection of photographs and sculptures. Though we are not art lovers we took a quick look at it and found it worth visiting!! The next stop was just across the street another famous church Se Cathedral.
- SE Cathedral: This church is one of the oldest and most celebrated religious buildings in Goa and is one of the largest churches in Asia. It houses a famous bell, often called The Golden Bell because of its rich sound. After spending some time in the peaceful surroundings of the Church, we left for Panjim, the Capital of Goa.
- Panjim /Panaji City: Panjim is a very beautiful city located at the banks of River Mandovi. We had a lot of time to spend till the sunset so we decided to see the city by walk. Walking on the footpaths of Panajim is a pleasure. We discovered the following walk trip in the beautiful city of Panjim. Check it out.
“Start to Finish: Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception
Distance: 6 kms
From the Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception walk east up the hill along Emidio Gracia Rd (Corte de Oiterio). At the four-way junction, where you’ll see fruit-seller barrows, turn right into 31st January Rd. Continue down to the heritage hotel Panjim Inn. Take the right fork of the road and continue south past the small fountain (not working) from which Fontainhas gets its name. Keep walking in the same direction until you see the steps off to the right leading uphill to the ornate, salmon-pink Maruti Temple, dedicated to the God Hanuman. The temple’s veranda provides fine views towards the Mandovi River. Nip behind the temple and follow the road up into the Altinho district. When you reach a junction with a red ‘stop and proceed’ sign, turn right and continue around to the Bishop’s Palace, residence of the Archbishop of Goa. This grand white mansion, with a silver painted Jesus statue outside, lords it over the much-humbler Chief Minister’s Residence across the road. After gazing through the fence of these two buildings retrace your steps back past the Maruti Temple and back towards the fountain. Turn left at the cross- roads just before this and head towards the steps, just before these turn right and head up hill past lots of big old houses. After around 300m you’ll see a set of steps on your right descending downhill and marked by a crucifix. Heading down these you’ll pass by many colourful houses until you reach the Chapel of St Sebastian. Built in the 1880s, its most striking feature is a crucifix that originally stood in the Palace of the Inquisition in Old Goa. Walk back to 31st January Rd and return to where the road meets up with the fruit stalls. Then, at the junction with Emido Garcia Rd, continue straight over and into the brightly painted streets of Sao Tomé, pausing for a drink at the Hotel Venite. Afterwards continue on to the river, turn left and walk down to the Secretariat Building, left again at Jose Falcao Rd and, keeping an eye peeled for the strange flower- and star-coated crucifix built into a wall on the right, back to where you started at Church Sq.”
Secretariat Building: Considered to be one of the Goa’s oldest buildings, the Secretariat houses Goa’s state legislative assembly. Originally, a palace of the Muslim ruler Adil Shah of Bijapur the monument was converted into viceroy’s official residence in 1759 by the Portuguese. Numerous attempts at renovation and repair have slowly converted an overtly Islamic structure into a giant colonial building, which boasts of a sloping tiled roofs and iron pillars. Being a high profile building, heavy security cordon is guarding the building everyday. However, visitors are permitted to enter and check out the exquisite carvings and a strange amalgamation of cultural architectures. Amazing!!
- Miramar Beach: Miramar beach in Panaji is the prime hangout place of local and Indian tourists. After our walking spree in the city we decided to go to the beach for sunset. Sunset here is a feast to the eyes. We took a stroll along the long beach, from here we can see the Light house situated at Fort Aguada.
- River Mandovi and Cruise: We were back to Panjim for river cruise. The cruises were decorated with lighting. We can see the whole of Panjim skyline from aboard the cruise covered with celebratory lights. Mandovi is the main river of Goa along with River Zuari. We opted to go on a cruise on Mandovi river which took us on a ride till the river joins the sea. On board here are live musical bands and groups which perform folk songs and dances of Goa. We enjoyed the life and art of Goa on an a hour long cruise. There is also a Floating Casino for those who want to try their luck.
After a very busy day, we were famished. There are many great hotels in Panjim which serve traditional Goan food consisting mainly of variety of sea food. We had our dinner at one of the hotels where we could taste the traditional goan cuisine. Sea food here was the best!! We crunched crabs and crustaceans, devoured squid-o-rings, Bombay Duck (Fish), Mussels, King Fish and Xacuti. Visit Viva Panjim which offers cheap tasty Goan and Portuguese staples and the ambience that of a small town in Portugal. Other notable eat outs in Panjim are Hotel Ritz, Pergola, George and Casa Moderna.
That was the end of our first tiring day in Goa and we decided to reitre for the day.
- Arambol Beach, Kerim Beach and Fort Tricol/Terekhol: First we visited Arambol Beach. It is quiet and peaceful and less crowded. We had a nice stroll along the beach under the warm sun. From here we headed to Fort Tricol. A trip to the fort makes a good outing on a motorcycle, but we preferred our own vehicle. The winding 11.5 km road from Arambol passes through villages and rice paddies and rises up to provide good views over the countryside and Terekhol River. We stopped at Querim beach to find it deserted with very less visitors. We took a Ferry/Barge to cross the Terekhol River to Fort Tricol. One can take their motorcycle or car on the Barge / Ferry (The barge ride is free both ways) to the other side but, we preferred a walk of about 2 kms from the barge to the Fort, which was, though little tiring in the noon, was refreshing.
Terekhol Fort is situated on the northern bank of the Terekhol river and in Maharashtra State bordering Goa. It was built by the Raja of Sawantwadi but, it was captured by the Portuguese. The cChurch and the Fort were rebuilt then. Terekhol Fort was a key Portuguese fort for the defence of Goa, situated on the north side of the estuary of the Terekhol river, the northern most boundary of Goa. Customarily marked by turrets and surrounded by a ditch it overlooks the panoptic ocean. How many times in your life have you woken up in a fairy-tale castle overlooking the Arabian Sea? Well at Terekhol, the northernmost outpost of Goa, you finally have that chance!! In the middle of the Fort is the church with a Goan façade. The view from the top of the fort was just breath-taking. One can spend a whole day in the calm and quiet atmosphere of the castle with the great sounds of Arabian sea touching the shores. The tranquility of the place is accentuated by the confluence of the serene sea and the river. The fort presently houses a Tourist Heritage Hotel. We decided to have our evening tea and snacks here on the top of the castle enjoying the serene view of the sea with the hill background. We ordered Pancakes and Chilled Tomato Gazpacho Soup to end with Iced Tea.
We decided to end the day with this visit and retired for the day.
- Calangute Beach: Our first stop for the day was Calangute which is the largest beach in north Goa, visited by thousands of domestic and international tourists alike. We had a great walk along the long beach side. There are various water sports like parasailing, paragliding, boats and water bikes available for the ones who are interested. We preferred to rest ourselves in one of the Beach shacks for a while. Then, we had our lunch at renowned beach side Hotel Souza Lobo where we enjoyed the tradional sea food dishes which were delightful.
- Baga Beach: Baga beach is smaller compared to other beach but certainly one of the most scenic and picturesque. Being less crowed than other beach helps even more who love to spend time calmly. The backdrop of hill and smooth brown sands made the beach instantly likeable.
- Anjuna Beach: Anjuna is a quiet beach with calm waters of Arabian sea lapping softly to the Indian shore. Unlike Calangute it is less crowded and we could feel the silence. We took a short stroll to the beach and lazed out on the white sands for a while before going to Vagator.
- Mandrem: Then we headed to the next beach south of Anjuna, Mandrem, which is one huge palm backed ribbon of clean and uncluttered sand; it’s one of Goa’s undiscovered gems. It’s good for midrange travellers looking to kick back and do absolutely nothing.
- Vagator: Vagator beach offered us a stretch of soft white sands, coconut palms, and a scenic view of the Arabian Sea. We enjoyed our sun set at Vagator. On our way back we had a nice quick munch of Tacos and Tortillas at a Mexican Restaurant on Vagator.
- Night life: Night life in Goa is equally vibrant as the beaches. One can have a range of Goan, Continental, Thai, Chinese and many more Indo Asian food joints. We visited Hotel Jambalaya frequented mostly by foreigners near our resort in Candolim where the live band of local boys was belting out numbers by GnR, Dire Straits and the like with a few Konkani and Hindi songs amidst travellers enjoying cocktails. It was a rocking night!!! Another hot spot is Tito’s which is a famous discotheque in Goa.
- Candolim Beach : The next day we decided to see Candolim beach which was just few minutes’ walk from our resort. This beach offered us the quiet atmosphere and scenic background. It was a full moon day and there was high tide. We enjoyed all the morning in the warm waters of the sea amongst high rising waves. An amazing experience one should not miss!! Candolim is an adjacent beach of Calangute but, is less crowded than Calangute. One can have a long walk or sunbathe at the beds provided by the shacks. After spending almost half a day here we decided to leave for Fort Aguada another tourist attraction of Goa.
- Fort Aguada: On the way to Aguada, we stopped for lunch. This old Portuguese fort stands on the beach south of Candolim, at the shore of the Mandovi river. Constructed by Portugese in the year 1612 to guard against Dutches and Marathas. A freshwater spring within the fort provided water supply to the ships that used to stop by. This is how the Fort got its name. Aguada means Water. After spending some time in the fort we went to see the 4-storey Portuguese lighthouse, erected in 1864 and the oldest of its kind in Asia. If you reach before 5.30 pm you can climb the top of the light house by paying a small amount of ‘entry fee’. We were lucky enough to reach there just before closing time and on time for the sun set in the Great Arabian Sea. The view from the top is breath-taking. At one side we can see the great river Mandovi, the other side we can see the vast Arabian sea and the beach of Candolim.
North Goa was explored by us. The next day we returned back to Kolhapur hoping to return back to Goa and hungry for more and to explore South Goa.
P.S.: All thanks to our MapMyIndia GPS Navigator for making our Goa holiday a smooth sailing by 99% efficiently navigating us through the intricate roadlines in Goa.