December 4, 2012

Every ... 

Everytime I watch the sun-rise,
I love to share the view with you.
Everytime I walk barefoot at sea-side,
I wish to explore the ocean with you.

Every sky you touch, I will be the wings to fly.
Every day and night I am with you.
Every prayer you have, I am the answer for you.
Every path you go, I will shadow you.

Everytime I look at the starry night,
I yearn you to hug me tight.
Every dream you see, I will bloom in that secret garden.
Every wish you have, I will make it true.

Everytime I think of you,
I can feel the warmth in the air.
Every smile you make, I cherish everywhere.
Every single word you say, I am listening you dear.

Everytime, your angel lips on mine,
It surely feels lovely and divine.
Everytime you kissed me, I felt your heart-beat close to mine.
Everytime you held me, the sun rose in your eyes.
Everytime your arms are open wide,
I will hug you tight.
Everytime you desire a hug,
I will embrace you right.

Everytime you sleep in the night,
I will be your lover.
Every moment that was lonely, will now be filled with pleasure.
Every moment, which was cold, is now warm beyond measure.

Everytime we go out, we do something amazing.
You are in my chocolates and creams, in my secret treasures and hidden dreams.
Everytime you loved me, my soul was born fresh.
Every moment in time with you, We are in heaven.

I will always be with you.

- Sachin Kumar Gupta (Sach)

My Other Poems: 

I wanna, like no other ... 


October 28, 2012

Quote of the Post: "Matheran is just the perfect place to find peace away from the hustle-bustle lifestyle, and take a break to relax, enjoy the poetic nature all around." - Quote about Matheran - Sachin Kumar Gupta

No honking, just calm! calm! calm! Read the last post of ways to reach Matheran, and one of the best toy train journey not to be missed "Matheran Toy Train". This post is all about the lookup points to visit in Matheran, and some important notes while visiting Matheran as per my experiences to Matheran. Below album has more number of snaps taken at these points.

Points in Matheran [*Recommended Point] [Important sites to visit in Matheran]: As soon as you park your vehicle at Dasturi naka, and enter to Matheran, you will be welcomed by the army of horses around you. Riding as per choice of Black, Brown, White, Tall or Short horse and the muddy slopes of Matheran is amazing to experience. There are altogether 36 points, 2 lakes, 2 parks, 4 major worship places and a race-course to visit inside Matheran. 

There are a lots of lookout ''points'' that provide long walking tracks, spectacular views of the surrounding hills and valleys. Matheran has a reasonably dense forest cover, lush greenery, waterfalls and the lake full with water. Being a hill station it is pleasant almost throughout the year though the nights can get a bit chilly. All the points give a unique view experience and you can’t miss that. The following is a list of some major places of interest, I listed as per my experiences in Matheran. "Day 1 starts"

*Khandala Point: The point is very close to the Matheran Market Place, you have to step down some scrumbled stairs to reach the place. Adore the Garbut Point in front of it and at the right side of it, Khandala Hills, Bhivpuri Power House and Karjat town can be seen. 

*Alexander Point: During the Mansoon, the view of water fall will delight the hearts.  

Rambaug Point
Little Chowk Point
Chowk Point

*One tree Hill: On the top of hill there is one solitary Jambhul Tree that marks the spot. If you want to skip this point, you can directly traverse from Alexander to Charlotte lake.

Olympia Race Course

*Charlotte Lake: Lake is 1.5 kms away from the main market. Matheran receives water from this lake. Charlotte Lake has dam at one end and main Hindu holy temple (Pisarnath Temple) at the other. A spectacular waterfall overflows from the lake during and shortly after the monsoons. This is a popular picnic spot, it looks splendid in the monsoon, but dries up in the summer. We experienced lake crossing. 

*Lord's Point: It is just near the Charlotte lake, and must visit place. It is said "The journey wouldn't be complete till you visit this splendid point."

*Echo Point: which really does have an echo, Valley crossing activity is operated by experienced people, we enjoyed the adventure as well. Love birds used to express their feeling not by flower or down on the knees but they shout it out at top of their voice. 

*Honeymoon Point: There is 30 seconds adreline valley crossing (approx 900 feet, 1000 feet deep) activity started that leaves you to Louisa point. Feel free to scream loud at the point and hear the echo coming from distant places through the valleys. Simply awesome!!!

*Louisa Point: The place is essentially a plateau with views of the ruined forts Prabal and Vishalgarh. On the right side, one can see a shaped like a ’’Lion’s Head’’. 

*Sunset Point (Porcupine Point): It is about 5 kms. from main market. It is well known for the magnificent sight of Sunset from here at dusk. 'Prabalgad' fort can also be viewed from this point. Deep forest surrounds this place. 

Malet Spring: During whole year passers by and tourists can drink the cool water of this spring. 

Back to market and have dinner and chillax there. "Day 2 starts"

*Sunrise Point (Panorama Point): Almost 5.5 kms away from the market place. Early risers should head to Panorama Point to take in a spectacular sunrise. This point commands one of the widest views of the hill, both of Matheran and other side of it. While going to this place one meets with a wonderful alliance of sky with the horizon. 

Mount Berry: A splendid view of train coming up the hill and perfect aerial view of Neral Town can be seen from here. Mount berry is one of the highest points in Matheran with its splendid views.

*Heart point: On clear nights, This point offers a view of the lights of Mumbai at night! 

Monkey Point: It is about 3 kms from the Post Office and so named because there were monkeys abounding on that side formerly. 

The Marketplace: A very common sight, You can enjoy numbers of monkeys leaping from tree to tree or climbing the housetops. The market area is the bulk of the activities, where you will find good quality Shoes, Slippers, Sandals and other leather goods at good bargains here. You also get various flavors of Chikki, local honey, fudge's ice gola's and various drinks.

You can explore the points as per your longivity of stay in Matheran. If you still have some energy to trek, you can follow the train trek from Matheran station to Dasturi Naka while enjoying valley views by foot. While returning we all opted for horse riding from Matheran market point to Dasturi naka on the red-mud road. 

Some important notes while visiting Matheran: 

- Don't plan to come or cover the place in a day.  If you would like to see all of them then you may need to manage 2–3 days on your feet from your busy schedule.
- Please carry enough cash with you, as many place don't accept cash and there is only 1 ATM nearby railway station, that even sometime doesn't work. 
- Carry flashlight as it becomes dark early near the forest areas.
- Don't carry eatable open, else monkeys wouldn't leave you. As soon as you enter, You will get to know.
- Don't book hotels in advance if you are not sure, as sometime that can be at a unwanted remote location away from market area.
- The area is subject to frequent power outages, so try to have a stay where you get a generator to supply backup power.
- If you want to travel with toy train, it is advisable to book the tickets in advance, as the train fills up very quickly. 
- I suggest you to take horse ride of only one hour to experience horse ride, rest of sight seeing will be easily manage by your foot only that gives a unique view experience. 
- Carry proper trek shoes with thick soles as Matheran is quite dusty and there is red soil everywhere. 
- Carry extra pair of clothes, as it rains heavily during monsoons. 
- You can trek right down from Matheran station to Dasturi naka then further to Neral station, either following the ghat roads or the toy train tracks. The best would be to combine both the routes for the spectacular views. This trek will take around 3 hour. 
- Avoid carrying too much baggage with you, but carry ample amount of water with you.

Matheran is really such an amazing place where nature is playing active role with you and where you can enjoy every breath with nature. Many couple spends there life precious time of honeymoon here in Matheran. Disconnected from the outside world, walk and make a stay in Matheran to get a totally different experience in itself...  
Quote of the Post: "Matheran is just the perfect place to find peace away from the hustle-bustle lifestyle, and take a break to relax, enjoy the poetic nature all around." - Quote about Matheran - Sachin Kumar Gupta

No honking, just calm! calm! calm! 
Feeling frazzled, I visited Matheran on a two day break from Pune with Meenal, Saloni, Piyush, Monika, Tara, Komal, and Vijay. 

Lets go to Matheran, hundred years back in time to feel old-world charm, when there were no vehicles. It is one of the few places in the world where vehicles are not allowed, not even bicycles which makes the place different from others. Mode of transport is by horse, hand pulled carts or by walking. There is no pollution, despite the thousands of visitors that come visiting through the year. Matheran has been declared an eco-sensitive region by the Ministry of Environment and Forest, (MoEF) Government of India. This popular weekend getaway located around 90 km from Mumbai, and 120 km from Pune. It is the nearest hill station from Mumbai, and real beauty of Matheran is best viewed in monsoon. The best time to visit is just after the monsoon, from mid September to mid October, when nature is still lush and green after rains.

It is a quiet hill station located in the Sahyadri range situated in Karjat Tahsil, Raigad District of Maharashtra, India. Mumbai and Pune are two Major cities connected to Matheran by Road. Dasturi Naka (Aman Lodge) is the last point to which cars are allowed. One can easily find a place to park the vehicles nearby. Shared auto and taxis are available from Neral to Dasturi Naka.

Map to reach Matheran Hill Station
Ways to Reach Matheran Main Place:

Mumbai - Navi Mumbai - Panvel - Neral - Dasturi Naka - at the tip of Matheran. 
Pune - Lonavala/Khandala - Khopoli Exit - Karjat Rail Crossing - Neral - Dasturi Naka - Matheran.  
There are regular road signs to guide you. Matheran is popular among trekkers. I love to share ways to reach Matheran as per my experiences and study before visits to Matheran.

[A] Local or Express Train to Neral Station (Check Railway Timetable) 
[B] Mini/Toy Train from Neral Station to Matheran Station (Approx 2 Hrs). The more enthusiasts, trek it from Neral. [3-4 hrs] 

[A] Local or Express Train to Neral Station (Check Railway Timetable) 
[B] Shared auto or Taxi from Neral Station to Dasturi Naka (Approx 20-30 Minutes) 
[C] Walk, horseride or hand pulled rickshaws from Dasturi Naka to Memorial Hall (opposite to Matheran railway station) (Approx 30-60 Minutes)

A] Bike or car drive upto Dasturi Naka.  
B] Walk, horseride or hand pulled rickshaws from Dasturi Naka to Memorial Hall (opposite to Matheran railway station) (Approx 30-60 Minutes)

Matheran Toy Train (Phulrani): Matheran is famous for the mini train that crawls in a zigzag manner from Matheran main market through proper broad gauge to Neral covering 21 kms. The leisurely two hour train journey takes you through dense forest & many stunning points worth a visit. It also passes through one short tunnel, interestingly named "One Kiss Tunnel".

f you feel like having a relaxing and relatively comfortable journey, book a seat in first class, where you'll get a padded seat in a cozy compartment. The train usually runs during October to June, and doesn't operate or has less frequency during monsoons. However, the timetable changes frequently so it's best to check it at an Indian Railways computerized reservation counter or irctc site. It is advisable to book the tickets in advance, as the train fills up very quickly. I must say, This was an amazing journey with loads of fun with family and friends. 

Matheran is really such an amazing place where nature is playing active role with you and where you can enjoy every breath with nature. Many couple spends there life precious time of honeymoon here in Matheran. Disconnected from the outside world, walk and make a stay in Matheran to get a totally different experience in itself. 

Read the next post to visit your favourite point to visit in Matheran, and some important notes while visiting Matheran.

October 17, 2012

Quote of the Post: "The place where every place is renowned and famous landmark for one or the other reason." - Quote about 'Mumbai (Bombay)' - Sachin Kumar Gupta

Welcome to the Gateway of India, Hollywood of India, most electrical city of India - Mumbai, the city that never sleeps. Searching for the best places to visit in Mumbai or a day experience in Mumbai. Here you have my experience with family. Starting the journey from CST railway station, to the most visited places like religious Siddhivinayak temple, Haji Ali Dargah, Mahalaxmi temple. Then going to "Hanging Gardens" on Malabar Hill, following amazing Ganesh visarjan at Girgaon Chowpatty and Marine Drive sunset point kept our mouth open. At the end of the day we spend some time near the Taj hotel and splendid Gateway of India, the most popular destination in Mumbai. 

The capital city of India, Mumbai, where all were set to bid farewell to its favorite god Lord Ganesha idols on Saturday, I just visited with family. We reach Mumbai CST railway station, and booked the cab for the whole day. The below road-map was covered by the expert drivers in Mumbai, who helped us covering major landmarks in a day.

Mumbai Visit Map
Siddhivinayak Temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha, is one of the most popular temples of Mumbai city. It is located in Dadar and you can easily get a taxi to go to the temple from the Dadar railway station. No photography is allowed inside the temple premises. 

We paused for sometime at Bollywood's favorite actor's home - Mannat (SRK's home). Cab driver stopped at this place for a while, and as per the tendency of the place people slow down their vehicle here.

Bandra-Worli sea-link bridge which links Mumbai’s suburbs to South Mumbai. It’s a very prestigious bridge which was opened in 2009.

Haji Ali: In the waters of the Worli bay, The Haji Ali Dargah, located in a small island in the big island city of Mumbai is the most popular tourist destination and more importantly a pilgrim site for people from all over the world. 15 minutes of small walkway, which connects the sandy shore to the holy shrine. The rocks exposed during low tide at the rare end of the mosque are a favourable spot to catch some cool sea breeze. In spite of being a Muslim shrine, people of all beliefs, religions and coming from all strata of society are found here. If you are lucky enough, you will be able to see and hear the kawali sunged by the professionals. I hear that during my last visit. It is the faith of these people that bring them here. Some new construction also going on at this place. 

Mahalakshmi Temple: This temple located on Bhulabhai Desai Road is a very famous temple of Goddess Mahalakshmi. The idols of Goddesses Mahakali and Mahasaraswati are also enshrined at this temple. You have to walk 5 mins off the road to reach this holy place. 

I will call it "The Heaven for Dating Couples". The "Hanging Gardens" on Malabar Hill offers stunning vistas of the Marine Drive. Another interesting feature comprises of its several hedges that have been fashioned into different shapes of animals. From the park one can have the best possible views of the Marine drive and the Chowpatty beach.

Chowpatty Beach is known not only as a beach for Mumbai but it is heart of the city. Though the beach is not for sunbathing or swimming, But It is always pleasure to watch sun-rise or sun-set. There are delicious snacks available at the various food stalls on the beach. You can enjoy having some delicious Chaats, Bhel Puri or Pav Bhaji, the choice is ultimately yours! Some people may remember the bollywood song "Chowpatty Jayenge Bhel Puri Khayenge". 

Marine Drive, a popular promenade of the city, is also referred to as the Queen’s Necklace. Also, Marine Drive is home to many celebrities, mostly bollywood stars. The place has become so popular among the local as well as the international travelers that people love visiting this place again and again. We enjoyed the road full of Ganpati Visargan, and walk across the sea during wonderful sunset.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus: India's most beautiful railway station is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture with stained-glass windows, towering spires, domed arches and buttresses and pillars with animal images carved into them.

Gateway of India: The symbol of Tourism in Mumbai. This famous landmark attracts all of us like a magnet. At the backside, There are steps in this monument which will lead you to the sea. Many people used to travel to Elephanta Caves from this point and view the skyline of the city from the sea. Another landmark Taj Mahal hotel is situated across the road from the Gateway of India which is very beautiful.

It was an superb but tiring day with Meenal, Saloni, Manish, Anmol, and other family members. Some places still to visit in my list are: Elephanta Caves, Essel World, Water Kingdom. Keep enjoying My Mumbai Diary ...

September 11, 2012

Company of loved ones, dark clouds covering whole of the sky, long drive, what else can one ask for on a weekend! Inadvertently, if the cam goes off, that's certainly you wouldn't appreciate. :( Desperation gives way to creativity, and there we were clicking the pics with the strength of all our senses put together. 

From Ozar Ganpati temple, we headed to Ganpati Teample at Lenyadri Hills, which is a series of 30 rock-cut Buddhist caves near Junnar Taluka, approx 90 km from Pune. This place is also known as "Sulaiman Pahar (mountain) or Ganesh Pahar". These caves have been created in 1st - 3rd century AD as a Buddhist monastery. Group of 30 caves contains two large shrines - chaitya griha (Cave 6-14) and one small chaitya. Other caves were created as dwellings for monks - viharas. Most viharas consist of verandah, central hall and cells arranged around the central hall. Although of smaller dimensions when compared to Ajanta, Ellora, Bhaja caves

Later on, one of the Buddhist dwellings was turned into a popular shrine of Hindu god Ganesh, which is one of the Ashtavinayak shrines at the Cave 7Some also name as Shri Girijatmaj Lenyadri GanapatiIt is said that in this particular cave Devi Parvati performed tapascharya for twelve long years for the gain of a son. After her long tapascharya, Lord Ganesh himself came before her. It is said that Lord Ganesha’s childhood took place in the Lenyadri mountains. It was his playground. So the name of the idol ‘Girijatmaj’ comes as ‘Girija’ meaning Devi Parvati and ‘Aatmaj’ meaning Son. Lenyadri carries an ancient myth which says that when the great Pandavas were living in agyatvas during their 13th year of exile, they sculptured these caves in just one night. 

How to reach Lenyadri 

Lenyadri Hill and Temple Map
By road from Pune: On the Pune Nasik Road passing through Chakan, Rajgurunagar, Manchar, Narayangaon to Junnar one can reach Lenyadri Ganpati. Junnar is the town closest to Lenyadri. Maharashtra state Transport buses also ply from Mumbai and Pune to Junnar. The distance between in Junnar to Lenyadri is 5km and this can be covered either by autorickshaw, car or jeeps that are easily available.

One can go by any vehicle to the base of hills further to which you have approx 300 stone cut steps arranged in ten flights, to take you to the top of the hill. The Palkhi or Doli (human carriage) service also offered 200 INR per person to the needy people till the top, that is one of the source of employment to locals. It is recommended to have water bottle while going up, as there is no shop up or on the stairways. As soon as we started climbing, little shower welcomed us, and after moving more up, strong wind made it harder to walkup, though enjoyable.

The place looks really eye-catching during monsoon season and ask us to be there for long. This holy place is encircled by a series of hills on all sides, and Shivneri Fort can also be adored from this place. The temple and the neighbouring caves are in possession of The Archaeology Department of India. The entry fee (darshan) is charged as Rs. 5 for the pilgrims and tourists.

So be it the quick trek, visit to the holy place, discover the history of caves in India, or a family or friends group tour, it attracts all. Anmol, Meenal, Anshul including me enjoyed the day so far, and next moved toward Bheemashanker Jyotirling.

September 4, 2012

Quote of the post: "The place for walkers, runners, skaters, cyclists and commuters where people of all ages and groups celebrate Seattle's rich maritime culture." - Quote about Lake Union, Seattle - Sachin Kumar Gupta 

Leaving the Pune (India) Monsoons, yet again arrived to the Emerald city of Seattle in the Summers. Take the break from the hustle and bustle of the city and stroll to Lake Union, a freshwater lake in Seattle joined by waterways to Puget Sound and Lake Washington. This unique gem has many sightseeing parks, gardens and trails in this region. Lake Union Park offers people of all ages and abilities a wide variety of ways to get out on the water and to immerse themselves in Seattle's rich maritime culture. The sight of seaplanes running throughout the day make this place eye-catching, and wouldn't let it away from your eyes. You can enjoy Seattle flight-seeing excursion, or scoot in and out of Lake Union, to the famous places like San Juan Islands, Orcas Island, Blake Island, or British Columbia. Kenmore Air and Seattle Seaplanes have their seaplane base and offers these services.

Lake Union Seattle Map
Lake Union shores are lined up with lovely houseboats colonies, commercial and private docks for owners and renters of tugboats, tour ships, sailboats, kayaks, yatchs, and canoes. Everyone’s favorite chick flick, “Sleepless in Seattle houseboat" can also be cherished. Adore "George Washington Memorial Bridge" while doing any marine activity. Enjoy the views of Downtown Seattle from Lake Union, and admire the Seattle's landmark Space Needle

The Gas Works Park site offers grassy hills for kite lovers with its beautiful views of the city. This old  park has tables, fire grills, the children’s play barn, and a picnic shelter. It is the site of former gasification plant with existence of ruins and pieces of old plant. It is the venue for summer concerts and Seattle's major Fourth of July fireworks show
Location:  2101 North Northlake Way, at the North end of Lake Union

Other parks ring the lake, clockwise around the compass from Gas Works which is nearly north: North Passage Point Park, South Passage Point Park, Fairview Park, Terry Pettus Park, and South Lake Union Park. A variety of restaurants with cuisine to meet every appetite, shops, salons and a maritime museum are available here. Chandlers Cove, Daniel's Broiler, Duke's, Joey, BluWater Bistro, Jillians Billiard's Club, RockSalt Steak House and China Harbor are to name a few.

*** Things to do at Lake Union Seatle *** 

Ramble around the Lake Union docks and relax at the parks.

By Seaplanes, Experience the most spectacular views of the Emerald city and the unique thrill of flying off the water, in and around of Seattle.

Have a glimpse of "Sleepless in Seattle" Houseboat and floating homes line the east and west sides of Lake Union.

Come down to the Center for Wooden Boats (CWB), a nautical museum on the shore, with historical boats, sailing events, classes and workshops. Visitors also participate by attending events such as the annual 4th of July Lake Union Wooden Boat Festival, regattas, boat shows. Every Sunday of the year, there are free public boat rides on Lake Union through CastOFF! Program. Come down in person to sign up as early as 10:00 a.m. for the 2:00 p.m. sail. Please note: space fills up quickly!

Visit Naval Reserve Building (Armory), situated at the water's edge, is now home to the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI). *Opening Dec 2012*

Practice and enjoy Dragonboating at South Lake Union at Kenmore Air. First 3 practices are FREE! It is a low-impact, full body workout for people of any experience level. Anyone can be a paddler.

Enjoy Wading Pools and Sprayparks at Lake Union Park. [Opens on sunny days or temp to be 70 degrees or more]

Relax and enjoy a stress-free commute by Mini-Ferry from Lake Union Park to UW  and vice-versa.

During eve, taste your favourate food at any of the wooden deck of lake shore.

Snap with the "George Washington Memorial Bridge" in the background.

August 13, 2012

Yippee, our Monsoon Express moved towards the north of Pune to pay regards to Ganpati at Ozar (Shree Vighnahar Ganapati Mandir), Lenyadri Caves and Bheemashankar. The Ganapati Temple at Ozar is one among the Ashtavinayak shrines of Maharashtra, called as Vigneshwar (The Lord of Vigna/obstacles). Lord Shree Vighanahar (can be searched at google) defeated the demon of obstacles, Vignasura; hence the name.

It is about 90 km from Pune and 140 from Nashik. The holy place is about 110 km from Ahmednagar in east, and 125 km away from Kalyan near Mumbai in west. Another Ashtavinayak shrine of Lenyadri, is just about 9 km, that we covered the very same day. Below map shows the routes from different directions, along with the one which we followed from Pune as: 
Pune - Rajguru Nagar Toll - Khed - Manchar - Pimpalgaon Tarfa Narayangaon - Ozar

View Shree Vighanahar Ganpati Temple, Ozar in a larger map
The day started with August showers. With eye-soothing and heart-loving views, the journey was easy and within no time we were at Ozar Ganpati. Just near the parking area we noticed an adorable view of Vighnahar Boating Center; which was closed due to heavy monsoon. This area comes within Yadegaon Dam

The temple's entrace is well decorated and eye-catchy, with two large stone gatekeepers, two elephants, two sages, and four musician sages on the wall. As you enter, you will find two giant lamp towers on either sides of the gate. Could only imagine the beauty of all the lamps glowing together! The colorful temple walls, possess en-carved sculptures and different images of Lord Ganesha. The main temple located at the center of premises, has three tiny entrances and inside that you can worship all eight Ashtavinayak Ganpati painted on the ceiling. One can view Shivneri Fort and Lenyadri Caves hill from the huge walls marking the premises. Not to worry on the climbing bit, they do have ladders! 

Just outside the temple, you can have quick visit to Gablibaba temple, and Hanuman temple. Ganesha Chaturthi is celebrated in great splendor and thousands of devotees come over to pay regards. Once out of the temple, our creativity took its turn and we were all set again for clicking and posing for pics. Post a quick explore of the Dam, we paused for a cup of tea and homemade sandwiches. With the start of day with Ganapati Darshan, day was bound to be good. And there it went.  :) We started for Lenyadri Caves Ganpati Temple and the showers too.  

Visit another famous AshtavinayakRanjangaon Mahaganapati near Shirur.

P.S. Just to give an idea to the readers, you may want to plan a full day trip nearby as below:
Cover Ozar Ganpati, Lenyadri caves Ganpati and Shivneri Fort. or 
Cover Ozar Ganpati, Lenyadri caves Ganpati and Bheemashanker.

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