If I look at the year 2022, I can easily say, this blog will bring the experiences of long road trips in India, the experiences, what to expect, things to take care of, and of course Places worth visiting in India.
It is time to bid adieu to the wonderful year 2022 and welcome 2023. And the traveler in you makes you look back at the memories of the places you have traveled in the year. The memories of the places, people and not to forget the Birds and Wildlife, and more importantly the journey itself, fills your thoughts in a flash. And the more you remember, the more you want to be out on the road again, exploring new places.
01-Jan-2022, the date I published my dream to share my Travel Stories. The date my blogging page “www.pankajsinghphotographie.com” went live. To write about Birds and other Wildlife, share my Insights on Photography and Photography Gears. To write about History of different places, un-explored beauties, places to visit and stay, route to take, etc. etc. Though, 2022, has been a year which kept me busy in personal as well as professional fronts, so haven’t been able to pen-down all my travel stories yet. But I guess “Late is better than never”. In short, a huge backlog from the year and before is just few key presses away.
2022, I had the privilege to drive through or visit states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra, MP, Maharashtra, UP, Telangana, West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Goa and of course Karnataka. Let me quickly take you to these astounding destinations one by one. Dedicated blogs from each visit will be coming soon, though few have posted already.
Kanyakumari (Tamil Nadu)
The most recent trip was to Kanyakumari. We drove from Bangalore to Rameswaram and then made our way to Kanyakumari. Breathtaking scenic route, amazing beaches having blue turquoise water, fort, palace and not to mention the famous Vivekananda Memorial that will keep you glued to this stunningly beautiful destination. It is the land of three seas, southernmost point of India and a place to watch Sunrise, Sunset and Moonrise all from the same point.
A plethora of touristic spots to cover, from beaches to Palace to Temple, to Church to famous Vivekananda Memorial and what not. Detailed blog coming soon.
Where to Stay in Kanyakumari:
Plenty of options available to choose here. From Luxurious to budget hotels, you will be spoiled by choices available. We chose to stay at “Joppa House”, a private bungalow with spacious rooms, pristine location and stunning view of Sea from the bungalow are few things that will make your stay comfortable, relaxed and feel home.
Rameswaram (Tamil Nadu)
A ten-hour drive from Bangalore to this holy Island is the best thing one could think of. Drive is picturesque and road quality is top notch. Just the thought of it, the land which had been a witness to the greatest Epic known to the mankind, Ramayana, that you will be able to experience and explore the holy land leaves you spellbound.
Let me share the documentary Nutan did on our Rameshwaram Temple visit. I am sure you will like her poetic story telling approach in this video.
The video below will definitely make you feel like packing your bags and hit the road.
There is so much to explore here. Many hidden mysteries to be solved from the History, the traditions, the art and culture, real life experiences from the old times.
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Divine Rameswaram Temple, Dhanushkodi and a number of Teerthams, having such great stories from past, was a lifetime experience for us. On the night of 22nd December 1964, a catastrophic cyclone hit the town of Dhanushkodi. It wiped away all the human settlements. More than 200 lives were lost. Since then, it has been known by many names “The Lost Town”, “The Ghost Town” and even “The Haunted Town”. But to be honest, when you actually visit this town, all you feel is peace and positive vibrations. So, what’s the reason, it is known by such negative names. Probably, one said so and then the rest followed. On the contrary, according to locals, all the souls who lost life, gained Moksha. Moksha, is the ultimate freedom from the Cycle of Life.
Rameswaram welcomes lakhs and lakhs of migratory birds in the season. We were a bit early to welcome them, hopefully will get to see them in our next visit. Few birding opportunities that Dhanushkodi offered.
Gull reaching for the Sun
Place to Stay
One will be spoiled by choices available here. From budget lodges to luxury hotels. We chose to stay at SreMethila Hotels. Located just about a km from the Main temple and 10 min drive away from Dhanushkodi, makes it the ideal choice. Clean, spacious rooms with all the amenities that one would expect. AC, free wifi, Tea / Coffee Maker, TV, shaded car parking and the best part mouthwatering Breakfast. Highly recommended to go for Bed + Breakfast package.
Yercaud, Salem (Tamil Nadu)
Yercaud, a hill station, at Salem in Tamil Nadu. Offers the experience of Ooty in a budget. It was a short drive from Bangalore. We stayed there for two nights. Though, not much to do here, but can have a good-relaxed vacation. One can explore the city, shop for authentic spices, visit lake, waterfalls, etc.
One place that we enjoyed the most was Peeku-park. A different level of experience, a must visit item in the checklist.
The trip was over, and we were heading back home, and my heart was sinking with the fact, I didn’t get to use my big lens. Driving back down the hills from Yercaud, I was looking for that one ray of hope to not go empty handed. And then this happened. A Blue-bearded bee-eater was perfectly perched for a shot, I always imagined my favorite birds on empty perches while doing rounds.
Having this beauty filling my imaginary empty perch was luxury. Brought the vehicle to a halt on the downhill, reversed to find less steep slope, put the parking brake on, set the vehicle in reverse gear in engine off state for additional hold on the not so steep slope now. Opened the trunk, unzipped the Suitcase and took out the lens while I was getting cursed from inside the vehicle for doing this stunt. Switched to my favorite tele lens from wide angle. Well! all this while the bird waited patiently.
I was ready to click some shots, but my gear was set in all point focus mode. In short, it was not able to focus on the bird. Now even the bird had enough of all this drama, after all, it must be having important errands to run. Anyways! I insisted to allow me few more seconds and the bird gestured “I’m ready to fly”. Switched to a required setting, my heart-beat racing high, I prayed, please just one pic, and exactly what I got. Well! that’s the story of this picture.
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Watch this space for a dedicated blog from the travel.
Galibore Nature Camp (Karnataka)
We needed a quick short break from the monotonous daily routine. All I could afford was a weekend away from work. So, we travelled to Galibore Nature Camp, which is just about 100 kms from Bangalore.
Situated at the bank of river Cauvery, is a JLR property. To reach to the camp, you will have to do an off-roading of 8 to 9 km. The off-roading is fairly easy and gives a feel of a self-drive safari. Though, didn’t see any animal during the drive, but you get to see river flowing on one side and the jungle on the other. It remains like this till you reach the camp. The river has good number of Crocodiles.
Crocodile at Cauvery River Bank
Abundance of Birds and Wildlife here. After a long search, we managed to spot near threatened Lesser-Fish Eagle.
Again, dedicated blog from the visit is a long time due and will be posting soon.
We decided to spend our Dussehra, 2022 in Mysore. The whole city gets adorned by beautiful lights. Mysore Palace being the highlight of the celebration, gets lit by 1,00,000 bulbs. It’s an experience in itself. The place becomes unbelievably beautiful.
When it comes to Resorts or Hotels, again, plenty of options available to choose from. But our requirement was different. We were not ready to lock ourselves in the concrete forest away from Nature. So, we booked our stay at KSTDC Hotel Mayura Riverview Srirangapatna. Just about 17 Km from Mysore City, was the perfect choice for us. It offered exactly what we needed. A resort close to Nature, spacious, clean and above all availability of good Tea and Coffee.
Apart from famous Mysore Palace, we visited Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, few Temples, Lingambudhi Lake (A dedicated blog already available from the visit).
Bangalore to Patna by Road
This was one hell of a trip, one of its kind, a family visit for a Wedding in Hajipur, near Patna. Patna is about 2400 kms drive from Bangalore. We took two night-halts during our journey, one in Hyderabad and the other one in Bilaspur. Had never done anything like this before. It was a thrilling experience.
Read my Bangalore to Patna by Road blog to know about our travel experience.
Ajodhya Hills in West Bengal
After Patna, we headed towards my hometown Bokaro Steel City. This is the place where I grew up, did my schooling before moving out for college. During our stay in Bokaro, we made a family trip to Ajodhya Hills in West Bengal. Though, since it was a family trip, didn’t get any opportunity to explore the place much, we just had a sumptuous late lunch and spent some quality time there before heading back to our homes.
Puri, Chilika Lake, Mangalajodi, Temples, Beaches, the list goes on and on. A dedicated blog on our visit to Mangalajodi is already available. Had an amazing time birding out in Mangalajodi and Chilika Lake.
Did two non-traveler trips which I feel is worth mentioning. Two professional and one personal.
Travelled twice for professional reasons, and both the times, did not get much opportunity to explore the city. During my first visit managed to go to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve and do some birding.
This was another official trip. We stayed at Vivanta by Taj in Panaji. Top notch hospitality, mouth-watering food and a comfortable stay.
Kolkata (West Bengal)
This was a personal trip to meet parents in Kolkata.
Would love to know about your travel stories or plans to travel in 2023. Let me know in the comments.
Special mention – Devbagh Beach Resort
One of the best beach experiences I had was of Devbagh Beach resort at Karwar in Karnataka. Karwar is even known as Kashmir of Karnataka due to its beautiful landscapes and gorgeous mountains. This is yet another property by Jungle Lodges and Resorts and booking can be done via their website Devbagh beach resort – Beach resorts | Jungle Lodges.
The resort is actually located at an Island, Devbagh, hence the name Devbagh Beach Resort. They have two options, one is Day visit and the other is stay at the Beach. One gets the private beach feeling, as there is no other property next to it. From time to time, Peafowls come and say hello to you. Below are few shots of them at the camp.
Things to do in Devbagh
- Nature Walk / Bird Watching
- Explore near by
- Boat ride – Dolphine Watching
Above is all part of the package.
Additionally, Snorkeling and other Water sports activities are also available, but subject to weather and availability at extra cost.
How to reach Devbagh?
We were required to park our vehicle at Devbagh Beach Office. From their, the resort arranges for a boat to take us to the Devbagh Island.
Nearest Airport is Goa.
We drove from Bangalore, which is about 570 Km. Sharing the location below for easy reference.
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Check out our Travel experience to another JLR property, Kali Adventure Camp || Dandeli by my travel partner Nutan Singh.
Gears used in the Trip
Sony Fe 200-600Mm F/5.6-6.3 G OSS Telephoto Zoom Lens (White)
Sigma Sports 60-600mm f/4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM Lens for Canon DSLR Cameras (Black)
Iphone 11 Pro and Iphone 13 for wide shots
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