5 places to find the best Biryani in Hyderabad

Hyderabad is prominently known for it’s biryani. The Hyderabadi biryani needs no real introduction. It is the staple to the locals and the go-to dish for the tourists.

Biryani has been a part of Hyderabadi cuisine tradition for close to 400 years. they say biryani is from Persia, having its title origin from there only.  Some believe it to be an invention of the Mughal Royal Kitchen, while others say that the DUM concept belongs originally to Bengal.

Like any other food, the biryani has been customized according to local tastes and flavours. Hyderabadi Biryani is characteristically distinct. The aroma, taste, tender meat, everything gives it a distinguished appearance.

Here are some restaurants where you can satisfy your biryani cravings:


Café bahar located in Himayat nagar, serves the authentically delicious biryani. The taste, aroma and warmth of it make a direct way to your heart.

Bawarchi Restaurant:

Bawarchi Restaurant, RTC cross roads has the yummiest biryani and satisfies your tastebuds right away. It is the only branch with an amazing ambience.

Photo by alleksana from Pexels
Hotel Shadab:

Hotel shadab, madina circle, famous not just for biryani but also for other authentic dishes like kebabs, Haleem etc. It is must go place to all the biryani lovers. If you’re visiting Charminar then you know, from where to fill your belly.

Shah ghouse:

Shah ghouse, Gachibowli is a go-to for different kinds meat biryani of amazing flavours with authentic spices. It definitely has a “love at first bite” taste.

Pista House:

Pista house has various branches and all of them maintain great standards in terms of taste and ambiance, the quality which makes customers visit them again and again. It serves more amount of meat compared to other restaurants.

Photo by Rajesh TP from Pexels

So next time you’re in Hyderabad and want to satisfy your biryani cravings, you know where to go. In case if you have been to all of these, let us know which one is your favourite?

My experience exploring astonishing Amritsar.

Just a spontaneous planning, two of us, booked bus tickets online from Delhi to Amritsar. It was simple one day tour to the amazing Amritsar. 

Visit to Golden temple

Overnight bus journeys are always fun. Reached Amritsar early morning & as the month was November, it was already foggy & cold. Quickly freshened up at the hotel nearby & moved to the world-renowned, Golden Temple, also known as Harmandir Sahib. What magnetic vibes this place has. We covered our heads first & then queued up in the line to get inside the temple. The premises of the temple is too large to move around, sit in peace & say your prayers to the Almighty. Sikh or non-Sikh, everyone out there was in awe of the beauty of the temple.

The sanctum of the gurudwara is overlaid in gold foil, thus famously known as Golden Temple. For Sikhs, it is said to be the shrine holding the maximum importance of all. There is a man-made reservoir around the temple, which is filled with different types & colours of fishes. The queue moved swiftly & soon we were inside the temple. It’s all the grace of God that we were witnessing him. Spirituality all around & we both felt ourselves immersing in it. This place gives so much of inner peace & calmness.

Approximately 1 Lakh devotees visit the shrine on daily basis. And to serve them a free vegetarian meal, therefore Langar is also served. Anyone hungry can eat the langar with no discrimination based on religion or gender. The Gurudwara is build in a complex mode. Many shops are there selling specialties of Punjab like Sweets, Blankets, Jutis, Dresses, Bangles, etc. 

Golden Temple by Astha Rani
Jallianwala Bagh Memorial

The next destination we moved to was Jallianwala Bagh Memorial. It’s in the same complex as the Gurudwara. Almost each one of us remembers this chapter from History. A black day for India, in April 1919. When General Dyer gave consent for firing on unarmed civilians who were having a peaceful protest for the arrest of two national leaders. Thus killing at least 379 people & injuring close to 1200.

Even today, the mark of the bullets is visible on the walls. There is a martyr well too, where people jumped & drowned to save their lives from bullets. The Jallianwala Bagh massacre is a landmark in our struggle for freedom. An incident that no Indian can overlook.

The whole memorial only makes you think that how innocent lives were lost & how expensive our freedom is. The patriotic feeling was at the peak.
The complex has some beautiful sculptures of Punjabi girls dancing. On the other hand, Men also doing gidha, the folk dance of Punjab, playing dhol. It felt as if Amritsar is showing what Punjab state on whole is all about. Happiness literally reflects in those lovely structures. 

Amritsar by Astha Rani
Picture by Astha Rani
Wagah-Attari border

And now the final & most exciting destination of the day was about to begin. To date, I had seen the beating retreat ceremony at the Wagah-Attari border only on TV, but now I was going to witness it live. So my excitement was at the peak already. As we got to know that only a specific number of people can occupy the place inside, We quickly took a sharing auto & began the wonderful 45 minutes ride to the border. The ride was again a treat to the eyes with lush green farmlands both the side. Clean air & that pure smell of the land was wonderful. As per the signboard, Lahore was only 22  km away.

 Next, we were in the line to enter the stadium & there were multiple levels of checking to go on for each one to keep the security upright. One cannot carry any objectionable stuff inside. Everyone was free to sit at any vacant place. Only first-come, first-served basis. And as everyone sat, the ceremony began. It’s the lowering of the flags practiced daily by both the nation’s security forces.

Since 1959, rarely has been the day when the ceremony did not take place. Patriotic songs were playing on both sides. People shouting slogans, kids & adults dancing in the middle. The ceremony took place for close to 45 minutes. The attraction of the event was the gates opening on both sides for a few seconds & one soldier from each side raising their leg, as high as possible. It is a symbol of two nations’ rivalry as well as cooperation between the two. Wagah border had its own majestic display of patriotism. Now, the sun had set & we had our bus ticket booked from Amritsar to Delhi. We moved towards bus depot & felt satisfied with the visit totally. 

To sum up, Amritsar was completely fun. Therefore a perfect blend of spirituality & patriotism. Certainly, a place which you would like to visit again & again. 

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Goa: From the Cool Breeze to the Amazing Food

I went to Goa with my writer this year in October. People who have been making plans to go to Goa for the last one year, we made that happen only in some days. Honestly, i was super excited for this trip.

Before leaving we had to make the arrangements. This was the time when the water sports had not yet resumed in Goa. Around 2nd October. Like every other person, I didn’t want to stay in North Goa. I wanted to enjoy the Goan Culture rather than go to a club to party. Like any sane person, I chose Airbnb. Our Accommodation was for 2 people in a two-bedroom flat near Varca in Goa.

Day One in Goa:

I was travelling from Belgaum Karnataka and my train was reaching early morning around 6:00 AM. Madgaon was the closest station to my place. The first thing that took me by surprise was that you don’t have any facility of Uber or Ola in Goa. So I took a Bike and my accommodation was already kept open for my arrival. The cleaner that cleaned the whole room.

The caretaker of the property was Pradeep. He had his own restaurant nearby and we could get our food delivered to our accommodation by him. This was a great perk when it came to staying in South Goa. Plus the guy was very helpful.

But because of Pradeep i got the opportunity to visit the Mahendra Club Private Beach where i got to see how Fishermen offload a boat after a hectic day of Fishing. An amazing experience indeed.

Club Mahindra Private Beach at Goa By Ramneek Flora
Club Mahindra Private Beach By Ramneek Florahttp://www.forksnbackpacks.com/photo-gallery/
Day Two in Goa:

Day two started with a good Breakfast at Roger’s . I had steak and mashed potatoes whereas my vegetarian friends had some Tikkas and Manchurians followed with Pasta. This was all accompanied with beers. If you are planning to travel to Goa, remember we could not get any Budweiser Magnum at any Shack or Restaurant. So its better if you stick to Corona, Kingfisher.

Later we explored the Benaulim Beach, we could spot locals enjoying their free time at the beach. You could see everyone at the beach. Someone would be sunbathing or making a castle, whereas some people could be exercising and some could be playing football.

I love beaches and that is why we spent most of our Day sitting at the beach with some chilled beers.

Later we visited the local market around the area to see if we could get something of interest. A souvenir for the friends or family and i could not get that in Goa sadly.

Yummy Steak at Roger's in Goa By Ramneek Flora
Yummy Steak at Roger’s By Ramneek Flora
Day Three in Goa:

So we had already planned which places i wanted to see in North, nd we had rented a car, which again our caretaker Pradeep helped to get. Long drive alert if you don’t like long drives then going from South to North Goa would get you irritated but if you are an adventurous person like me, you would roll down the windows and enjoy the wind.

The drive was long and the radio was great, to my surprise, I could hear all the western songs that I enjoy on Goa’s Radio. Once we arrived in the North, the first thing I wanted to see was The Basilica of Bom Jesus, which was unfortunately closed. So we went to the exact opposite of this place and ended up at St. Cathedral. It was beautiful. Though we only got to see it from the outside because “Covid”. But it was fun. 

Later we went for lunch at Mum’s Kitchen, to be very honest the food was a little overrated. The prawns were good but the tail was not removed from the Body and my friend ended up eating the whole thing. Would recommend this place for the ambience but not for the food. The service was great though. 

Explored some Miramar Beach later and that was it, came back home and slept in. 

St. Canderal at Goa  by Ramneek Flora
St. Cathedral by Ramneek Flora
Day Fourth in Goa: 

Found a really great Shack by the name Cornelio Beach Shack at the Cornelio Beach. Tasty Salad and amazing Omelette. This was the last day at Goa so we wanted to explore the south Goa part which is why we went to Varca Beach, the cleanest beach out of all the beaches I went to on this trip. I found so many seashells there and plus the water on your feet hits different when the sun is setting down. 

Due to the food on the previous day, my friend ended up having food poisoning which is why we didn’t do much this day and we all needed to sleep due to the early morning flights the next day. 

Sunsetting on the Varca Beach By Ramneek Flora
Sunsetting on the Varca Beach By Ramneek Florahttps://www.instagram.com/p/CHb3jBOrKgW/

That was it, the trip ended we all went back home, but we returned with great memories and a memory card filled with pictures. On a personal note we were glad we got Pradeep as our caretaker, he was a super helpful guy and even loved helping us whichever way it was possible. 

On the journey to the mystical festivals of India

We all love Festivals, attending them and even organising them. But some of the communities don’t just go with the normal norms of Festivals. They love celebrating festivals for a cause, with a motive and that is why you should explore these festivals to know what different cultures exist among us.

Hemis Festival: Ladakh

A festival dedicated to the Lord Padmasambhava also known as Guru Rinpoche is celebrated in Ladakh at the Hemis Monastery by performing dance. It is believed that Guru Rinpoche had been born on the 10th day of the 5th month of the Monkey year which was predicted by the Buddha Shakyamuni. This event takes place once in 12 years to follow the steps of the Lord. 

You can hear the beating of drums when the morning ritual “Gompa” starts. The spiritual wail of pipes and portrait of Padmakarpo is put on display for people to worship. 

But it is notable for its beautiful Mystic Mask Dancers. These performances are known as “Sham” performances and are part of the Tantric Tradition which is performed only by Gompas. They worship the Lord in their own way and its the highlight of the festival.

Ladakh Festivals
Photo by Simon Matzinger from Pexels
Jagra Festival: Himachal Pradesh

This is one of the local festivities and celebrations for it take place in different parts of Himachal Pradesh. Celebrations take place in the month of September this event has many rituals. like Fasting after that praying to the village deity. Many places you can also see folk dances and bonfires along with music as a part of the festival.

Pooram: Kerala

Pooram is the temple festivals and it represents the hearts and souls of Kerala. In this event, you can come across such festivities like Elephants on the street and the approving crowd decked up beautifully for the individual rituals. Every temple has its own individual ritual to follow and you can experience all that in these beautiful small festivals.

Pooram Temple Festivals
Pooram in Kerala by Kanaka Yeldutti
Phulech and Fair: Kinnaur

The organization of this fair takes place in the month of Bhadrapada and it witnesses a sprout of monsoons. It is certainly for the flower viewing of Ukhyang in the Kinnaur Valley.

Phulech festival whereas is doe as an act of remembering the ones that have passed away. You can experience the village being decked up with colors, also for the people who love food, you would get good authentic himachali food during the fair and festival.

Jidjed: Kaza

This festival takes place in the Thang Yug Gompa which is an ancient monastery located 13 kms from Kaza in Himachal Pradesh. The main objective of this festival is to protect people from diseases, epidemics and to bring happiness, health and prosperity.

If you want to attend this festival you would need to visit in the month of October.

Himachal Kaza Festivals
Thang Yug Gompa : Photo by Sakshi Patwa from Pexels

These were some of the Unexplored and Mystical Festivals of India through our eyes. Which ones do you think you would explore next?

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Become a Global Citizen with Gemtrack Travel

How often do we hear about travel stories that comprise slow, sustainable and united experiences? Not very often. But Gemtrack travel has you covered with such unique experience stories. In other words, one such story is Global Citizenship.

Gemtrack is all about being responsible for travelling, without hurting the environment and exploring places that are not famous but worth your time. Discovering their culture, customs and the local essence of the destination.

Picture By: GemTrack https://www.gemtracktravel.com/
Concept of global citizenship, gems and destination guides:

Global Citizenship:  A person can become a global citizen through community building at 3 levels: local, national and global.  Gemtrack thrives to seek a integrate exciting experiences with positive impact and exploring slow and sustainable travel.

Destination guides: These destination guides will guide you through your journey. The guides help you from finding accommodation to places where you can find your soul. They also connect you with local changemakers who are dedicated towards sustainability, ethical living and conscious consumerism.

Gem: You can become a Gem for Gemtrack travel if you know your city and your place. besides, You can discover more sustainable options around you and maybe guide people to visit those places rather than going to the same hustle-bustle of the city visited by everyone.

Picture By: GemTrack https://www.gemtracktravel.com/

The six pillars of global citizenship

The Gemtrack explains the six pillars which are the basis of global citizenship:

  • Engaging and exchanging: Coming from a different part of the world, having a chance to know the local community, culture and stories is a deep satisfaction one can ever experience. Connecting to the locals, learning new skills, participating in movements contribute to the collective welfare.
  • Slowing down: having a break from all the pressure of checking out all the famous places and rather enjoying the moment with an immersive experience.
  • Being informed: educating yourself about the local culture, customs, negative effects of tourism. Knowing about the movements and organizations that can bring a positive change.
  • Environmentally friendly choices: preserving the environment of the places you visit and protecting the environment with sustainable choices.
  • Supporting the local community:  by shopping local, local communities would get benefitted from tourism. Ultimately the local economy would earn the benefits.
  • Learning from locals and fellow travellers:  one will learn different concepts, developing new ideas and perspectives towards life when they travel. This way travellers help each other build united, compassionate communities across the world.
Picture By: GemTrack https://www.gemtracktravel.com/
Destinations where gemtrack can guide you through:

Bali Brazil Colombia Goa Guatemala Italy Java Laos Lombok Mexico Nepal Netherlands Portugal South Africa South Korea Sri Lanka Sumatra Sweden.

Therefore when you travel to these destinations make sure you get in touch with Gemtrack and have a slow, sustainable and united traveling experience. And you can also experience how they are making a change, you would get lots to learn from their work.

Above all Gemtrack is making great progress in this world and are working hard to develop the concept of Global Citizenship. Similarly you can take a step forward and help them too.

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Indians and Dal, a never-ending love story

If Romeo and Juliet symbolically -represent romance, then so do Dal and Chawal. This is one of the most comforting foods that Indians are blessed with. It’s the go-to food when you’re sick, it’s also the go-to food when you’re celebrating. All-day, all year, it never fails to charm people with its tasty, healthy and soothing power. Cultivated from the earliest days of civilization, dal is somewhat indispensable to the Indian diet.

India is the largest producer of pulses in the world. These pulses are among the most important staple foods in South Asian countries and form an important part of the cuisines of the Indian subcontinent. Among all those pulses cultivated, DAL represents the dried, split pulses (that is, lentils, peas, and beans).

Photo by Buenosia Carol from Pexels
Dal makhana

Dal makhani or dal makani is a dish originating from the Punjab region of India. The primary
ingredients are whole black lentils, red kidney beans, butter and cream. The dish gets its
richness from the use of cream or butter, but it can also be prepared with yoghurt, milk or no dairy. Nowadays, you find Makhani as a staple in all North Indian restaurants across the

Photo From: https://www.pexels.com/

Dal Fry

Dal fry is a yellow colour soup of lentils which we can cook either with whole lentils, beans or split lentils with or without husk. The altering of flavours can take place with modification in the spices according to our preference. It is an integral part of the main course of almost all Indian families and is regularly present in variant styles. Being a popular north Indian dish, it is also a low caloric nutritious food. This recipe provides a dish which is a source of protein for the vegetarians and provides a good accompaniment with roti, naan bread, rice or pulao.

Mamidikaya Pappu

In Telugu, this khatta dal or sour dal is popular as mamidikaya pappu. Here ‘mamidikaya’ means mango and ‘Pappu‘, means dal. The recipe featured is a family favourite and its as simple as it can possibly be. Mango and tuvar dal are a magical combination. They are lovely on their own, but together, above all, they are a match made in heaven. The tang of the mangoes bolsters the earthiness of the lentils and the garlic infused spiced seasoning lends a subtle savoury flavour.

Photo By: https://www.pexels.com/
Dal Mughlai

It may have originated from the royal kitchens, but this one’s a delight to make in the kitchen as well as a relish. Toovar and chana dals are pressure cooked with chopped lauki, tomatoes andturmeric and mixed well, before a tadka of garlic, ginger and jeera is added to it

Dal palak

This dish is nothing but lentils cooked with spinach & tempered with basic Indian spices. It is a healthy, delicious and one of the most made palak recipes in Indian homes. This simple protein rich dish, we can eat with plain rice, chapati/ roti or different kinds of bhakri (flatbreads)

Photo by Valeria Boltneva from Pexels

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To the Caves of Grishneshwar Jyotirling

One fine day, my mother was planning to go to Grishneshwar Jyotirling. I nodded head in yes, that let’s go some weekend. Its close to 5 hours drive from Pune.
Then, I picked up my phone to check what more places can we explore nearby. It is then my eyes got big with excitement. The world-famous, Ellora Caves, Daulatabad Fort & Bibi ka Maqbara are here to explore. All my history chapters from school started flashing one by one.
With enthusiasm and exuberance, we planned the trip soon.

Started early morning & by 11 am, we were in the temple premises. The crowd was at the peak but since it was organised, we got our turn soon. At this jyotirling, males are not allowed to cover their upper part of the body. We were not allowed to touch the shivling, only darshan & can view the shivling clearly on the big mirrors placed above. We offered our prayers, came out & got the sweet halwa as prasaad.

Photo By: Astha Rani

Next we moved to Ellora caves as it is located close to the temple. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site & has the largest rock-cut monastery temple cave complex in the world.
The first time when I saw the caves, I was like, am I really standing here?

Not even thought in my wildest dreams, that I will ever have the opportunity to see it. The caves were not different from the pictures of a history book. This place required a lot of energy to move all-around & explore architectural beauty. The caves featured sculptures of gods, goddesses & mythologies.
It was a sunny day & walking, made us too exhausted. Old stones with various scriptures & many stories behind, as narrated by the guides there. The part of the monument was constructed by Rashtrakuta dynasty & another half by Yadava dynasty. And to build the monument, royals & traders gave the funds back then. Today it is a protected monument under the Archaeological Survey of India. Finally, we clicked lots of pictures & moved ahead for lunch.

The next beautiful destination was Daulatabad fort. And as it was a fort, too much of trekking, to view the beautiful city, Aurangabad from top. The climb was not flat, so it was again very tiring, but with family around & doing all the fun gossips, it was a such a walk to remember. Daultabad fort had a lot of connection with the emperors I remember till date, such as Muhammad bin Tuglaq of Delhi Sultanate & Alauddin Khilji. After visiting such places, you tend to read about them again & their supremacy.

Photo By: Astha Rani

Last stop was Bibi ka Maqbara/ Tomb of the Lady. Commissioned by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in the memory of his first wife, Dilras Banu Begum.
At first look, you will get a feel of mini Taj Mahal, if you have been to Agra first. Just that, Taj Mahal is more elegant though the structure looked the same. These both monuments share striking resemblance, popular as Dakkhini Taj/ Taj of the Deccan. And its the largest structure that Aurganzeb had ever built.

As it was already evening, cool breezes & greenery around gave us a sigh of relief. By now we were totally drained & there was 5 hours drive back to Pune too.  Bought already cut pineapples near the car parking & wrapped up the visit to this historic city with many wonderful memories.

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The truth about “Is a vegan diet healthy?”

Being vegan is a lifestyle

What if I said that a 3 year old boy who’s followed veganism ever since he began to understand the diet. It is one of the fittest and successful man on the planet today.  What if I said that one of the most influential and greatest leader that ever lived had started following veganism in his early life. Is that really possible? Can a vegan diet be healthy? Can a purely plant based diet qualify the Darwanian theory of “survival of the fittest” ?

The answer to all the above and a hundred more puzzles is a big yes. While keeping aside the fact that veganism is an absolutely strict diet to follow, vegans all over the world have a positive feedback and are cherishing their decision to turn into a vegan. Veganism is a practice of completely refraining oneself. To consume any type of animal product, it’s a purely plant based diet. While vegetarians still consume dairy products, vegans strictly restrict themselves to consume any kind of dairy products. At the same time, there are certain disadvantages of a purely plant based diet as they lack certain vitamins and proteins. Which are usually high in animal based products. To suffice the vitamins and other required nutrients, one must take multivitamins and other dietary supplements to have a balance of all the nutrients.

Picture Courtesy: https://www.pexels.com

Being a vegan is a very personal and a conscious decision that one makes with various reasons in their gut. Some being ethical while the other being medical. Irrespective of the physical benefits of a vegan diet, people have claimed being at peace and have attained a mental sanity. Ever since they’ve transformed themselves into vegans. 

“I’m a firm believer in eating a full plant based diet that can expand your life length and make you an all round happier person” said Ariana Grande.

There are various campaigns across the globe that made waves all over the world and by consequence. The rate of people following veganism is increasing every year. Although a vegan diet does not fully guarantee a healthy life. One must make changes in their lifestyle in the amount of fats they consume along with being vegan. Switching to veganism comes with terms and conditions. That there are several other habits that one must add to their lifestyle. Which mainly include regular workouts and a comparatively less usage of oils and fats.

To be more specific and precise, veganism is not just about food and diet. It includes the littlest of details of one’s life. Right from the dressing to cosmetics. To everything that is derived from animal or animal products that one uses on a daily basis. Veganism isn’t just a choice, it’s a lifestyle.

Picture Courtesy: https://www.pexels.com/

While we have understood what veganism means so far. Let’s get back to the puzzles in the beginning of the article. Yes, a vegan diet is healthy when followed with utmost care. Yes, a completely plant based diet qualifies the Darwanian theory. After all, it’s the Survival of the fittest.

Before we close the curtains. The 3 year old boy who’s switched to veganism and following it ardently ever since is none other than our very own joker, Joaquin Phoenix. And the greatest leader of all time, who followed a vegan lifestyle for the major part of his life is the mighty Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam.

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The Beauty of Nashik and the Sula Vineyards

One of the four locations, where Kumbh Mela is held & famously known as the Wine Capital of India. Yes, you read that right. There are high chances that for your next glass of wine, Nashik is respectably responsible.
And worldwide the city is famous for the Lord Shiva Temple, one of the 12 Jyotirlings, Trimbakeshwar is located close to 30kms from here.

My journey to this spiritual city is divided into two days.

Sula Vineyards by Astha Rani
Journey Begins from Pune to Nashik

Started from Pune at 6 am & in the next 4 hours, we reached the hotel, located in the centre of the city. Quickly we freshened up & reached the fantabulous Sula Vineyard.
Sula will give you all the vibes you need on a weekend. Spots to relax, sip your favourite wine, with a decent crowd around & click some great pictures to cherish for a lifetime.
This place has been developing well with years & in the season of grapes, it’s more advisable to go since you can see the source of your wine too with all the beauty around. Some entry fees are being charged which can be encashed in the restaurant inside. There is a separate section for wine tasting too. Taste, sip, buy for family & friends is the summary of Sula Vineyard.

Photography By: Astha Rani
On towards Godavari River

Next, we went to the sacred Godavari river near Ramakund. River Godavari referred to as Dakshin Ganga, is the second-largest river in India.
The place also called Panchwati, from the times of Ramayana as told to us by the priests. Many people were taking bath in this pious river with the belief that it’ll wash off all their sins. Next, we climbed up the Kapaleshwar Temple & offered our prayers with all the heart.

The whole environment was very divine. We heard many mythological stories from the people around about Lord Ram, Lakshman & Goddess Sita. Entered the famous Sita Gufa, from where Ravana abducted her, the actual gufa, where you have to keep your head down all the time. Today ACs have been installed inside as it’s so small that suffocation can easily happen to anyone. Its the place too, where Lord Lakshman cut off Shurpnakha’s nose on the order of Lord Ram. Nashik is a mixture of ancient & modern India!

In the evening, we headed to a place, where we could sit & relax, as the day had a lot of exhausting walks.
Someshwar waterfall it was. Though it is a small waterfall with the swift stream, the weather began to be pleasant, less of the crowd & hot corns to devour.
It started raining & we took shelter in a nearby Lord Krishna Temple which was again spread in a very big campus. Went inside the temple, took blessings & moved towards the hotel, calling the day off.

Photograph By: Astha Rani
The Next Day’s Journey

Next morning we got up & were ready to leave the hotel around 5 am so that we could reach Trimbak at the earliest. 30kms away, with minimal traffic, we were at our destination soon. It was drizzling & the way to the temple was serene. Greenery both the ways with only hotels & resorts around. We had to wear jackets as there were fog & cold waves out. We stood in the queue, it was moving fast and we got our chance of darshan. Trimbakeshwar temple is famous for its architecture & sculpture. As we entered for darshan, we saw shivling was all donned with flowers, milk & belpatra. There were many priests inside doing all types of pujas for families. Inside the premises, we did five rounds of the temple chanting Lord Shiva’s name like many others.

As we came out of the temple, we got to know that closeby is the actual origin of river Godavari, in the Brahmagiri hills. On hearing this, we were full of enthusiasm, for that one need to climb close to 700 stairs, which was not in condition, muddy all around, basically a risky climb. We dropped the plan & decided to head back to Pune.

In all, I found Nashik as a holy city. Culturally rich and trying to protect its heritage. Amazing experience to be in this temple city & would surely love to come again!

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My Reasons To Visit Mahabaleshwar

When I think about my one day visit to Mahabaleshwar in February 2020. I can majorly recall only Strawberries. Red Strawberries, which are pretty healthy & little expensive everywhere, except this hill station which boasts of 85% production in India.

Under British Raj, Mahabaleshwar was the summer capital of Bombay Presidency. So, we were quite sure of pleasant weather all day.

Here we begin:

We started around 6 am from Pune and reached Mapro Garden in three and a half hours. This was our first place to visit.

Mapro Garden is a must-see, in fact, it was the best part of my day. While parking, I could only see, Strawberry stalls everywhere around & it was such a soothing feeling. The garden has been developed well with a food court,  spots for clicking pictures, nursery to pluck strawberries too.
Though having breakfast inside the Mapro premises, will seem heavy on the pockets, but it is worth it. We had their famous & delicious Veg Sandwiches & Strawberry shake with ice-cream. Plucking strawberries was again such a wonderful thing to do.

Photograph by: Astha Rani

From here, we moved to the points named, Lodwick, Elphinstone, Arthur’s Seat, Elephant’s Head Point, Bombay point to witness the hill station from the top. Though the walk to the points might seem tiring, it was definitely worth it. As the view was ravishingly lush green & felt so much peace around.

At some point, there were horses, on which you can get photos, while the horse would be in air with two legs for milli seconds. This was fun for me, as I believe in taking lots of pictures, need not be perfect but surely a memory!

As the Sun sets over the Mahabaleshwar Temple:

In the evening, we headed to an almost 500 years old Lord Shiva temple, the Mahabaleshwar Temple, where the Shivlinga is said to be self-originated. And it is considered superior to the 12 jyotirlingas we know.
Since it was not much crowded & not allowed to take pictures in the temple premises, our darshan was swift. We bought small frames of Lord Shiva & tasted some local delicacies while walking back.

Vienna Lake at Mahabaleshwar
Photograph By: Astha Rani

The last stop was Vienna Lake. It had a big area for car parking & there you could find hundreds of horses too. The eyecatching thing were their names such as Prem, Badshah, Basanti, Gabbar & many more. These horses will be ready to take you for an evening stroll near the Lake.
If you like boating, then Vienna should not be missed. As the water was clean & safety was the priority too for the authority concerned.
Viewing sunset, while seated on a boat from Vienna Lake was where I wrapped up my trip to a very beautiful hill station, Mahabaleshwar.

On the way back home, we bought a good amount of Strawberries, as they were great in taste & low in prices! And through these strawberries only, for the next 2-3 days at home, we kept remembering the magical Mahabaleshwar!

Photograph by: Astha Rani

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