If you stay in Bangalore or Mysore, you’re in luck. The options for day trips are endless.
On a lazy weekend, my friend and I planned a rather random trip to these falls. Not much research had gone into the planning of this little excursion, and lack of proper planning makes me nervous. Nevertheless, the entire trip was uneventful- in a good way.
Chunchi falls is a tiny waterfall about 80km away from Bangalore. The waterfall in itself cannot be called an attraction, but the part we enjoyed was the mild trekking and rock climbing that leads to this hidden away waterfall.
We got there by 9am, a good half hour before people in buses came along for sightseeing. It took us all of about 45 minutes to descend to the rocks closest to the falls. The climb can be as hard or as easy as you’d like it to be, as there are multiple routes you can choose. I’m not a very good climber myself, so naturally I chose the easier path.
Upon Descending down towards the waterfall, we were rewarded with gorgeous views of stone formations and occasional sprays of water, as it hit the rocks.
The water collects in a natural pool way below. There were a few plastic bottles floating in the pool- a very sorry sight and a mark of the negligence of previous visitors.
We didn’t venture down towards the pool, but there are routes towards it. To climb down there is a challenge as the path isn’t too easy and climbing back up might be even harder than going down.
After sitting around for a sometime, appreciating the raw beauty before us, we climbed back up. The sun was out and it was getting hotter by the minute, so we stopped at a small stall for a drink before heading back.
If you’ve got half a day free, Chunchi falls makes for a lovely break.
What if I told you paradise is only an overnight journey away from the city of New Delhi? What if I told you that this trip is perfect for every traveler, no matter what budget restrictions they have? Well, you’ll have to believe me when I say it, paradise is closer than you think!
Kasol, a small village in Himachal Pradesh and still largely unexplored, is well known among the hippie crowds. Many travelers come here for a short vacation but fall in love with the place and end up staying for much longer.
The snow-capped mountains, gushing rivers and waterfalls eroding huge iridescent boulders and lush green forests; everywhere you look, you’ll find a postcard-worthy scenery.
A somewhat peculiar aspect of Kasol is that you’ll find hemp plants growing in the wild. Marijuana is extracted from thee plants. Marijuana being legal here is another aspect which attracts many tourists here.
Kasol is also the base from where you can trek more isolated villages like a Chalal, Malana and Kheerganga. Chalal is an easy 30 minute trek away from Kasol and as it is less developed than Kasol, it is also more picturesque. The trek is easy but very interesting as one has to go over a rickety hanging bridge that spans across the roaring river.
Trekking to Kheerganga is a difficult 5 hour trek. However once you see the view from the top and dip your feet into the natural hot spring you find there, you’ll find that the trek was more than worth it. Malana, famous for its Malana cream is further away and you’ll find it easiest to get there via taxi.
Another major attraction is the temple at Manikaran which is also famous for its hot spring. Manikaran is 5km from Kasol and buses ply every now and then. It takes about 20 minutes to get there by bus, but if you’re up for a walk, the route will reward you with some stunning views of the mountains beyond.
The people in Kasol are very friendly, and locals offering tourists a joint and smoking with them is also common.
Buses to Kasol ply regularly from both Chandigarh and New Delhi. The journey is about 14 hours from New Delhi, so its best to choose an overnight bus. The cost of a one way journey starts at around ₹700. If you’re taking a bus from Chandigarh the journey is around 9 hours. The bus will get you to Bhuntar, the nearest town to Kasol, from where you’ll find jeeps and cars that take you to Kasol.
If you’re in the mood for a road trip, the journey will take close to 12 hours by car. Though the roads are smooth, it is a tiring journey as there numerous hair pin curves to traverse.
Stay in Kasol is very basic, and you can get a room with an attached bathroom at less than ₹500 a night. It is not necessary to book earlier. Many of the cafes in Kasol also have accommodation so be sure you ask around a few places as the rates as very competitive. For a more adventurous experience, you can choose to stay in tents that are set up near the river for about ₹800 a night per tent.
Since Kasol is very popular among Israelis, you’ll find authentic Israeli food like sakshuka and falafel here. The food is little expensive, but often delicious, so you won’t mind the few extra bucks you’ll have to spend. Though German Bakery is one of the more popular cafes here, other bakeries in the area serve up great food too. Vegetarian food is easy to come by though it may not always be easy to find egg-less or vegan food.
You’ll find many handmade products being sold in Kasol, from clothes to accessories. Tailors will even stitch certain basics like tops and leggings if you give them an hour’s notice. Since marijuana is legally grown in Kasol, you’ll also find many products made of hemp. People who enjoy smoking up will also find many accessories such as bongs and Bob Marley themed clothes and bracelets.
The best time to visit Kasol is April-June, when the rest of India is sweltering hot, you’ll find Kasol is the perfect temperature for a hill station. The days are pleasant and the nights are cold. You can expect slight showers in Kasol occasionally so be sure to check the weather updates before packing.
Kasol has so much to offer and much of this village is still being discovered, so pack your bags and put this little adventure next on your list!
Fort Kochi is a seaside town in Kerala, India, with many facades to its personality- and it slowly reveals itself to you as you move through the bustling crowds, the narrow lanes and past the many dilapidated buildings.
The last time I went there was two years ago, for the famous exhibition ‘Fort Kochi Muziris Biennale’. And yesterday I was back there once again for the very same reason. You can still see remnants of the town’s past- from the Portuguese and British architecture to the Jewish influences seen in certain parts.
Some of the main attractions in Fort Kochi are:
The Jewish Synagogue and Jew town
Fort Kochi beach
Kochi Muziris Biennale (happens one in two years)
The biennale is an exhibition that displays contemporary works of art from artists all around the world. The exhibits are spread around multiple spaces within the town. Walking from one venue to the next is a wonderful way to the see Fort Kochi in all its glory.
I had lunch from Kashi Art Cafe, which was one of the venues where some of the art was exhibited. The food here is as delicious and the prices are affordable, but most people go here because the vibe of this place is amazing.
The Biennale begins at ‘Aspin Wall’ where you can purchase the tickets. Be sure to keep your tickets safely because you’ll need the ticket to enter the other locations of the exhibition.
Every exhibit has a description given beside it, be sure to read these descriptions to really understand what the artists are portraying.
Once you’re done with ‘Aspin Wall’, head to the next location; ‘Cabral yard’ is the closest exhibition space to walk to. This is an outdoor area where you’ll find interactive installations. Be prepared to spend a full day on the exhibition; some people take two days to really see all the exhibits at the various locations.
The Biennale is till 6pm, after which all the locations begin to close for the day.
If you’re not tired yet, head to the Fort Kochi beach to catch the sunset, before retiring for the day.
Last weekend, we planned a trip to Yercaud, a hill station in Tamil Nadu, India. There were close to 40 of us on this trip, so we booked an entire bus for ourselves.
The journey from Bangalore to Yercaud was close to 6 hours, including a lunch break.
After checking into our hotel, The Great Indian Holidays, we set out to explore the town. The hotel itself is wonderful and affordable, with individual ‘villas’, each having four rooms. The hotel also has a swimming pool and a restaurant. Breakfast was included in the booking. The hotel also has a few outdoor activities like zip lining that they arrange at an extra charge.
For lunch, we stepped out into town, exploring what was near the hotel. We ate a tiny cafe called Eggetarian (limited vegetarian and vegan options). After this, we set out to a sunrise point, locally known as Manajakuttai. Though we got there late afternoon and didn’t get to see the sunrise, the view is still stunning and the place is usually quite deserted.
People are allowed to enter only upto a certain point, after which there is a fence. However if you ask the caretaker politely, he may just allow you to cross this barrier. The sun had set by the time we left this place, so we headed back to the hotel where the staff were happy to start a bonfire and serve dinner outside so we could sit by the fire.
If you’re not tired yet, lie down by the villa and look up at the stars; on a clear night you’ll see a million.
The next day, a bunch of us woke at 5am, to trek to the nearby Shevaroy Hills to catch the sunrise. We reached the hills by rickshaw (they from around 5.30am) and trekked for about 30 minutes uphill and found ourselves a nice spot to view the sunrise.
The sunrise was spectacular, the sky was the perfect canvas and we could see every color of the rainbow as the sun began to rise from behind the farthest hills.
After viewing the sunrise, we walked back downhill and returned to the hotel by rickshaw (it may be difficult to find one near these hills in the morning).
After breakfast at the hotel, we went to the hub of this town, which is the lake. It’s about $1.50 (₹110) for two if you want to use a peddle boat for about 20 minutes. If you’re hungry, there is plenty of roadside food beside the lake. The roasted corn on the cob and the Gobi 65 (spicy fried cauliflower) were especially tasty. If a bigger meal is what you’re looking for, there are a couple of small eateries at walking distance from the lake. Beside the lake is the Deer Park which is a nice place for an evening stroll.
Yercaud is still a partially hidden spot and while there isn’t much to do here, it’s a lovely weekend getaway, especially if you’re visiting Tamil Nadu.