Coastal Diaries Day – 8.

January 18.
Sellarupet to Nellore, Andhra Pradesh.

Now after the girls leaving, it is just me and Vidula till VijaywadaSumati is suppose to join us there. We started early today as we have planned to visit Pulicat Lake Bird Sanctuary. Which was mesmerizing and worth. It is the second largest brackish-water eco-system in India after Chilika lake in Orissa. We saw some amazing birds there.

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Also we were lucky to capture some spectacular Pink Flamingos while heading towards Satish Dhawan Rocket Launching Centre, ISRO at Shriharikota.
When we reached at the ISRO Centre we came to know that it is opened only two days in week and only those people with authorised letter are allowed to visit the Rocket launching pad. And right now there is nothing much to see than the colonies where people/workers are leaving. So we clicked some pics from outside and we left for Kakinada.

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We reached Nellore around 12:30.p.m. 
It was a relaxing day. Started with a bang though.
It was Sunday today when people were just waking up and planning their day whereas, our day was already made 🙂

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Coastal Diaries Day – 7

Pondicherry to Sullurupeta

Since morning I was feeling a bit low. Prerna being a Mountaineer got an urgent call from back home and she decided to leave so she will stay one more day in Pondi and will leave tomorrow. Whereas, Sayali has some personal issues to be resolved so her dad has asked to come asap. So, even she would be leaving today from Chennai. We will drop her on our way to Sullurupeta.
Initially, after Vanita leaving we were suppose to be four and then after Sumati would have joined us from Vijaywada. Which makes five who will stay till the end of the journey. But all of a sudden the scenario is totally changed. There is just two of us left for next two days. Just me and Vidula. Which is a high risk but for some reason I am mentally prepared to face the consequences. Hence, I was feeling bad for Vidula as she being the organiser and backbone of the team, she was a bit nervous and worried. Which is natural. I assured her that “whatever happens I’m not going to leave you even if you send me I won’t go back”
Then the time has come that we should start our today’s journey.
I clicked some departing selfies with Prerana and Sayali and along with Sayali left for Sullurupeta via Chennai.

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I will definitely miss these girls.
We reached Sullurupeta in Andhra Pradesh around 3:00.p.m.checked in at ‘Hotel Kinnera Grand’. We had Andhra meal for lunch. Vidula joked about the name of the hotel, that ‘Now in Andhra most of our hotel names have the word ‘Grand’ in it’. (Which really were grand in every sense though)
Then we left to visit Nelapattu Birds Sanctuary  which was around 18-20kms. It was late so we decided to visit the nearby sanctuary instead of going towards Pulicat Lake,  the hotel people were also so kind they helped ua in planning and also sent one guy with us who knew local language so he can guide and assist us with the road and the place.
(P.S. – He knew only telegu and some English words😝)
Nelapattu Birds Sanctuary is a well known bird sanctuary in India and is the favorite spot of migration for Grey Pelicans. The sanctuary covers around 40,040 ha of area and is also located near Pulicat Lake, which is also known as the 2nd largest salt lake in India. Which we will be going tomorrow.
The time period between Octobers to March is the ideal time to visit the sanctuary. It was really an Amazing Experience .

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Coastal Diaries Day – 5 And 6

Vellanki To Pondicherry.

Vellanki  is really a cool place. We left from Vellanki around 8:30-9:00a.m. After having a filling breakfast. We stopped at Tranquebar it is also called Tharangambadi. We directly headed towards the beach of Tranquebar which also have a Danish Fort nearby the fort was basically built for soldiers to stay as it was near the shore so the goods that are transported were kept in the fort those days. There was a small museum inside the fort. It was a delightful break. there is a small café opposite the Danish Fort we had light snacks and left for our next destination.

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Pondicherry aka Puducherry. The City of Pondicherry have recorded history after the advent of the Colonial Powers like the Dutch, Portuguese, British and the French.
Our hotel was Already booked for that day. We were received by Revathi Co-chairman of the Annamalai Institute. Even the media people were expected but due to the Pongal they changed the plan.
Sayali wanted to buy ‘Mallets‘ from this particular shop in Auroville, so we rushed to Auroville. The place is called ‘Svaram‘ which is the place where you can buy beautifully synchronized musical instruments. I just loved that place. It was about to close so Prerna took the responsibility and drove insanely, so that we reach there before it closes. It was a hell-o-kind of drive.
Auroville (City of Dawn) is an experimental township. We came across so many foreigners roaming around on mopeds and bikes.
You may get a sense of the appeal of the place after a visit to the visitors Centre and the ‘Mantrimandir‘ in Auroville.
We later roamed around the place had coffee at a beautiful café in Auroville. and there I met this adorable creature.

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It was already late we had food and as that was our relaxing day we all planned a party and bought some snacks and boozers and partied till late. We played ‘I never ever had..’ and ‘Truth and Dare.’
Next day, after having breakfast we left for Auroville again some of us wanted to roam around and some of us were keen on sightseeing. Also, Vanita was leaving the same day so we dropped her at Pondicherry bus stand.

Later we went to ‘Aurbhindo Ashram‘. The Sri Aurobindo Ashram is a spiritual community located in Pondicherry.
It is a calm and beautifully decorated ashram. I bought some books from there one for me and another for my daughter Keya.
Then we went to an exquisite Italian café had Coffee and Crepe there. Which was yummy. 🙂

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Later that evening we explored the beach at Pondicherry again. 😀

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Coastal Diaries Day -4.

14 January.
Rameshwaram to Vellankani.
We started early and went to see Ramsetu outside Rameshwaram city. There the beach was just wonderful. High surfers waves and pleasant breeze. But that was a point from where the local people take us to the Ramsetu in there 4×4 vehicle as the road wasn’t suitable for ordinary vehicles. But it would take our another two hours which wasn’t fitting in our already tight schedule. So we all decided to start our journey towards Vellankani. I drove almost 150kms today. For lunch we stopped by the shack in a small village on the way and had authentic Lemon rice with tomato chutney and coconut chutney.

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When we reached Vellankani we experienced very positive vibes, which worked for us as well. As our hotel seems one of the loveliest place, which also have a swimming pool. ‘We definitely gonna enjoy here’ that was our first reaction. Which eventually we did. Prerna taught us floating in the water with ears inside the water for support I was holding a rod though it was an excellent experiment. So relaxing so soothing. After that we went to see the church of Vellankani. The churches here are breathtakingly spectacular. Anyone who goes to Velankanni should visit ‘The Shrine Basilica’ comprising of three Churches, Our Lady’s Tank, Church Museum, Priests’ Residence, Offering Center, Stations of the Cross, Stations of the Rosary, Shrine Mega Mahal and Vailankanni Beach. The unique feature of the church is its Gothic architecture.

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Also the food that we had tonight was just so mouthwatering. These guys had Chicken chettinad and Lama Parotha and Fish. Whereas, I’d onion uttapam with four types of chutneys. We had some relaxing time, which allowed us gel well together and which was fun.
While returning back I bought a black necklace with a cross at the end, And also for the first time I tried Jackfruit and I liked it. 😀

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One more thing about this town is that, Vellankani was one of the worst hit areas in the 2004 Asian Tsunami.

Coastal Diaries Day -3

Day 3. 13 January
From Kanyakumari to Rameshwaram.

After yesterday’s mesmerizing sunset at Kanyakumari I got a chance to even catch few glimpse of equally beautiful Sunrise from the rooftop of our hotel. We left around 7:30 from Kanyakumari and I drove all the way. We had a breakfast break after around 100kms at 9:30-10:00 a.m. I’d onion dosa rest of my friends had Pudina dosa, Onion uttapam and tomato uttapam. And also orange and Mosambi juice. It was so fillings that we thought of having lunch directly at Rameshwaram. I drove again almost 200kms then Sayali and later Vidula drove till Rameshwaram. Before the town there is this amazing bridge called Pamban Bridge. This bridge is a cantilever bridge on the Palk Strait which connects the town of Rameswaram on Pamban Island to mainland India. The bridge refers to both the road bridge and the cantilever railway bridge, though primarily it means the latter.

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Everyone among the team was equally enthusiastic and photo fanatic. And in a mood to make the most of it from this trip. We were stopping by every picturesque place to capture the beauty. Even on highways we use to stop if we see some amazing, which again is a very different experience. And also we took the pics with the banner that Shivkumar’s sponsorer friends couried.

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When we reached Rameshwaram around 2:30-3:00 p.m. After getting fresh we headed towards the restaurant for food. I really like South indians thalis. We tried that with some authentic chutneys. After that we explored the beach and went straight to take the blessings of Lord Shiva. The Rameshwaram temple is so vibrant. The temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga shrines, where Shiva is worshipped in the form of aJyotirlinga meaning “pillar of light”
Also, the idols of god and goddess are very colourful and beautifully carved.
Together withVaranasi, it is considered to be one of the holiest places in India to Hindus, and part of the Char Dham pilgrimage. According to Hindu mythology, this is the place from where the Hindu god Rama built a bridge, across the sea to Lanka to rescue Sita jee from her abductor Ravana. TheRamanathaswamy Temple dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva is located at the centre of the town and is closely associated with Rama.
From a local shop I bought a nicely carved black ‘Shiv Linga and Nandi‘ statue from a shop for my Mandir. After darshan we again went to the beach I touched the water. I’m a bit old fashioned but I don’t care. Then we clicked few pics sat for a while and came back to our hotel and crashed into our bed:D

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Coastal Diaries. Day 2.

Day 2.
12-January
From Kovallam to Kanyakumari.
Last night, I can’t say I slept well but I woke up fresh. Is it the zest or the Kerala weather can’t say but felt great when we started.  We had breakfast at our hotel under the shades of coconut groves. I had little bit of idli chutney as I needed to taste it cus I like different types of chutneys and then I keep on experimenting at my place. After we left, halfway Vidula asked me to drive, mentally I was not prepared yet I agreed. I’ve tried my hand on several cars but never got a chance to drive Scorpion. Thus, it turned out to be a great decision as I enjoyed the drive. Drove almost 50-60kms we reached by 1:00 p.m. at Kanyakumari.

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Went directly to our hotel ‘Sivamurrgan‘ thanks to ShivKumar Arumugam one of my twitter friend who supported us with sponsorship throughout Tamilnadu. Then we had Sapada for lunch at nearby restaurant.
We’re definitely in the mood of sightseeing while Vidula and Vanita planned to take rest. So we departed.
We took a ferry from the coast and went to the Vivekanand Memorial. That was a spectacular place to visit. It has one temple, one meditation hall and one large hall with a king size Vivekanand swami’s statue. And the sweet coincidence was today is Vivekanand jee’s Smruti din (Birthday). Then the same ferry took us to towards the statue of the Tamil Poet and philosopher Thiruvalluvar. The statue is a 133 feet (40.6 m) tall stone sculpture. Both the places are located at an island near Kanyakumari on the southernmost Coromandel Coast, where two seas and an ocean meet; the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea, and the Indian Ocean. This makes that place looks so picturesque. Even the ferry ride was quite delightful. Everytime you enter you’ve to carry a life-jacket even though you won’t be wearing it later during the ride. There was a group of Rajasthani people, ladies wearing beautiful Ghagras and authentic Ghunghats and men were all protective type. They were adamant that all of them should tie the life-jacket so after trying for a while they asked one foreigner lady to assist and that lady was so generous she started helping each one of them with the buckling the jacket. And by the time the last person was buckled tightly the ferry reached its destination and everyone started laughing. That was really cute.
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The statue of Thiruvalluvar was like an Indian version of Statue of liberty.
We walked two-three storeys and reached near the feet of that statue. It was almost the closing time so the security was asking people to hurry up.
We came back to the town and at a local shop had this sweet bonda I’d coffee and went towards Kanyakumari temple. On the way Prerna bought one mund (lungi) for her and I bought one for my hubby. Later Vidula and Vanita joined us and we went to this typical dhabha type food joint. Their these girls had ‘Beef fry’ with ‘Parotha’ and some ‘Chicken curry’. Whereas, I had Dosa and chutney.

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Coastal Diaries. Day 1.

Day 1.
11- January
Mumbai to Trivandrum 🙂
I became a part of a road trip which includes travelling by Mahindra Scorpio 4×4. Initiated by Vidula Tade for her website called Buffyfish.com
She planned a 28-day-long, approximately 5,000-kms expedition along the coast of the Indian Peninsula from Mumbai to Kolkata via Kanyakumari Starting on January 4 this year. Which includes a documentary on the life of some successful women we will be interviewing from every state we’re visiting.
Young women of different age groups
became part of the exciting journey, joining in from different cities including me.
Vidula Tade, Sayali Pandhkar , Prerna Dangi, Subhadra Devi Leela and Vanita Kariappa started their journey from mumbai on 4 January 2015.
Two will be leaving after trivandrum and I am joining them from there later Sumati Madiman will also be part of the drive from Vijaywada. For east coast. 
I will be starting my first leg of journey today from Mumbai.
Without my family.
Yet, I’m sure this drive will turn into the most memorable trip of mine.
I’m pretty excited and equally worried about my 8yro daughter Keya.
I have never left her alone for so long but her courage and understanding is commendable. 
My hubby and my daughter came to drop me till Mumbai airport😄
While waiting at the airport for my flight to take off I bought a gift for Vidula as its her birthday today.
I’ve been told that Prerna and Sayali will be coming and pick me.
Looking forward to start my exciting journey .
So yayy🙌

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I reached Trivandrum airport around 7:00 p.m.
Sayali and Prerna were there. When I reached the place where we were suppose to stay I was welcomed by everyone. One of the lady was shaving her head which was a cultural shock for me I was a bit taken back for a while and I thought I’m among some Hippies. The place  was ok but the construction seems new. But despite of all this thoughts and things I came across I had a very clear vision and was ready to adapt anything and everything.
I gifted the diary  I’ve bought for Vidula and she gave me the band that she brought for all of us.
We went out for shopping lungi but the lungi guy comes only in the morning. So then went to a restra they smoked had beer n we all eat. Even I had Shandies i.e. Beer plus some soft drink I had it with thumsup. Which tasted good😝
Then we clicked some pics and roamed around the beach for few minutes.
I recorded the sound of waves.
Kovallam beach is so musical loved the tides and enjoyed the shor of shore:)

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