Tales of an Offbeat Adventurer. For certainty about uncertain roads, unknown destinations and diverse cultures. WORLD is a book and those who do not travel have read only one page.

VarahNarsimha Simhachalam Temple

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Situated near to Vizag (around 18 Km.) on a hill top, Simhachalam temple, known as "Simhachalam Devasthanam" is believed to be as the oldest temples in the world. The word Simhachalam means the hill of the lion and this temple is a true portrait of rich heritage of Vizag.

Bhakt Prahlad needs no introduction and probably is the most told story to every kid in our country. This is the hill where Lord Vishnu had appeared to save Prahlada who was dropped from top of the hill, by the demon Hiranyakshipu into  the sea. Later on after demon Hiranyakashipu was killed by Lord Vishnu incarnated as Lord Narsimha, Prahlad had built the first temple at this site. Lord Vishnu is worshipped as Lord VarahaNarasimha (वराह नरसिंह ) here.

The present structure of temple was constructed by King Sri Krishna Devaraya. However a few scripts found here dates to 9th century, Chola Empire and 13th century AD as well.

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Offbeat delicacy in Pink City Jaipur


What is so special about color "Pink"?
Everyone says it is a symbol of universal love, charm and understanding hospitality. In the year 1876, Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh had painted the city of Jaipur in Terracotta-Pink to welcome, then visiting Prince of Wales, Prince Albert to show him the Brand India hospitality. The tradition of Indian hospitality is unmatched till date.
Thereafter a law was passed by the state of Jaipur in 1877, requesting every new building to be painted in colour of Pink. That is how Jaipur became Pink City and Jaipur is still redefining the standards of royalty and hospitality.

Every step, every lane is worth giving a feel of being a Maharaja to whomsoever visiting this Pink City. Along with other noteworthy tourist attractions like forts, monuments and temples, Jaipur is also one of the preferred spots for destination weddings. If you are also planning to get married in this city and are looking for wedding banquet halls in Jaipur, then WedMeGood would be really helpful for you.

Jaipur is always full of visitors, be it any time of the year. Amidst so many spots, in fact all of them popular with tourists, are there any Offbeat spots in Jaipur? I was thinking the same while enjoying the Nahargarh Fort. While moving around, I saw two monuments lying at the foothills of Nahargarh fort, which were not at all crowded. Well, I was able to locate the rare offbeat spots in Jaipur; Garh Ganesh Temple and Gatore ki Chhatriyan.

So without wasting any time, I reached the entry spot for these spots. As all good things should begin with prayers to God, so Garh Ganesh temple was the preferred choice to start. From here you just need to start climbing these stairs, however the size of stairs, will test your stamina to the extent. 

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Brahma Sarovar, Kurukshetra

Where you will find the Gods, where is the heaven? 
Simple answer, please visit Hindu temples. And if you want to enjoy a walk with the Gods alongside, please come to Brahma Sarovar (Pond) at Kurukshetra.
Legend says the Sarovar was created by none other than Lord Brahma. After performing a huge Yagya (ritual) here, Lord Brahma went on to create the universe from the sacred land of Kurukshetra. Cradle of civilization, Brahma Sarovar is breathtakingly picturesque and the most visited site in Kurukshetra. 
 
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The Guy with a Map in Tokyo

Nations need armies to win, but explorers need only a Map to conquer the World.

Tokyo, the capital city of Japan, is one of the world's most modern cities in terms of its infrastructure and design. However it is also considered as world's most expensive city, but for travellers like me thanks to its superb rail and subway networks, it is also one of the easiest to get around. That’s all which is required to explore this beautiful city.

With one full day to explore as much as I can, I started as early as I could have from my hotel. Just around the corner from my hotel there was a small temple, so took the blessings of the Gods to make most of this day. I started from Shinagawa Station and got down at Tokyo station to walk my way towards Imperial Palace. The palace is still in use by the Imperial family. During cherry blossom season the palace is one of the most sought out spots in the city for photography. The Palace has been also known as Edo Castle in the past, home to samurai warriors.

Palace is big monument in the heart of the metropolis and consists of numerous parks, where everyone can enjoy a walk or jog in the morning.
Walking around the palace in brisk rains has doubled up the joy. Soon from the nearest subway station boarded a train to Yasukini Jinja Shrine, which is a Shinto shrine in central Tokyo

Shrine was built in 1869 to honour brave soldiers who led their lives in order to build the foundation for a peaceful Japan. In form of written records, details (spirits) of about 2.5 million people, who sacrificed their lives for Japan in the various conflicts, are enshrined here. Details include name, birth place and date and place of death of brave soldiers.

Adjacent to main shrine stands a memorial dedicated to Dr. Radha Binod Pal, who with utmost honesty tried to defend justice of law during International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE) was set up by the Allied powers to try Japanese leaders for “war crimes" and was the only judge to have exonerated Japanese leaders.

Subsequently Dr. Pal was awarded the Order of the Sacred Treasure First Class by the emperor of Japan, one the country’s highest honours in 1966. Read more about RB PalMemorial.

Alongside the shrine there is a small war museum displaying equipments from World War – II. Likewise this Mitsubishi Fighter aircraft:

And this 1936 made, locomotive from Thai-Burma Railroad:

At a walking distance from the Shrine is the “Indian Embassy”. Cannot share how I felt to celebrate “Incredible India”, outside India.

When the Soul is satiated and the mind is thirsty for more, there is no craving for anything else. Neither I felt hungry nor had had any plans to eat that day, but my friend Kento ensured we do not go hungry. He took me to an Indian restaurant. Thanks, Kento for the wonderful moments.

With a subway map, another subway station and we were all set for Meiji Jingu. Surrounded by 175 acre forest, Meiji Jingu is a Shrine built to commemorate virtues of Emperor Meiji in 1920. 

Wall made of barrels of Sake and Wine is another notable feature of thei Shrine. 

This is one of the most beautiful alleys of Tokyo and must visit for first timers to Japan. Read more about MeijiJingu
Evening was looming large by the time were making exit from Meiji Jingu, but I had to catch Askakuza line for Sensoji Temple at Asakusa district. Got confused for a while, seeing this beautiful subway train, if this train is for regular commuting a showcase model? Vow. 

The Sensoji Temple in Asakuza disgtrict is one of the oldest temples in Tokyo, dedicated to Buddhist Goddess of compassion, Kannon. Temple’s history goes back to the year 645, it was destroyed in 2nd world war, but was rebuilt in the original appearance again. 

The temple is noted for the enormous Thunder Gate with hanging lamps at the entrance, 5 storied Pagoda and Nakamise-dōri Street to buy souvenirs, snacks or even have your fortune told. In the temple premises saw lot of incense sticks being burnt and people cupping their hands around the smoke and applying it for healing. Rightly said, science comes so far and then GOD comes along, power of faith should never be underestimated. Read more about Sensoji Temple.
From the temple premises, you can see a rocket ship like a tower. This is 634-meter-tall Tokyo Skytree, country's tallest structure (and the world's tallest freestanding tower). Opened in 2012, it is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Tokyo for panoramic views of Tokyo from the restaurants.

As all good things have to end, the time and dark had arrived to force me to go back to pack my stuff and leave to India next day. For those who believe life is made of moments, I covered lot of them in a city which is one of most modern and extremely rich in culture heritage.
Forgot to mention, night outing on a Yakatabune boat for Japanese traditional meal while enjoying Tokyo skyline floating around on Sumida River. Yakatabune is a must try experience. Check out the setting inside the boat:

Now have to say, Sayonara Japan with amazing memories. Sayonara was the first Japanese word which Indians have learnt, thanks to famous song of the 1960’s, Sayonara Sayonara from the smash hit movie Love in Tokyo.
Keep travelling, keep on accumulating experiences.



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MODWAYS - Magic Business Planner

At first glance it was just like any other Business Planner when I received the packet. So, I quietly kept it inside my bag and went home. Honestly, I had no idea that this Business Planner is a Pandora’s Box waiting to be explored, sorry to be opened. Can’t help, being an offbeat explorer!

At night while taking this diary out of my bag, noticed the Wi-Fi symbol on the front cover and a small push button. Curious I, checked it closely to find a well-crafted Push-Button (actually Power/ ON-OFF button) into the outer covering. 

Is it just any other diary, my thoughts went into a toss? At that moment I noticed that back side covering is quite thick, unlike regular such planners. What the hell it is? So, I turned over to the inside of the back covering to find this crafted arrangement of cables in well carved cavities. Now I was completely shocked and confused as what these cables are doing here.

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Sensoji Temple, Asakuza (Tokyo)

I came across many temples while moving around in Tokyo. Well, Japan is home to lot of temples. Sensoji Temple in Tokyo’s Asakuza sistrict is considered to be one of the oldest temples in Japan. Sensoji Temple is one of the most famous spots in Tokyo and is dedicated to Goddess Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy. Coming out of subway station, one has to cross a long, street market to reach out the entrance.
Entrance to the temple is highlighted by the Kaminari-mon Gate, its 3.3-meter-high red paper lantern with inscription "Thunder Gate". For convenience I assumed the entrance as the Thunder Gate. Entrance to the inner temple goes via another gate, HOZOMON Gate, in local language Treasure Gate. This 2 storey gate is made of fireproof material, was lastly built in 1964.

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Meiji Jingu, Shinto Shrine with a garden

The Meiji Jingu, or Meiji Shrine, is one of the most important tourist attractions in Tokyo. A long walk from the entrance gate amidst dense forest like plantations and lot of flowers provided a shot of fresh energy.

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Mystery of Lakhamandal Temple

It was a delightful misty morning that started with music of birds chirping, which soon turned into a wonder morning with lakeside breakfast.
With whole day at our disposal and only 100 km. between us and Lakhamandal, there was no hesitation in taking the seats in our vehicle. Soon misty hills began to disappear as we started driving our car to reach out for the mysterious Lakhamandal temple. With connection going back to the times of Mahabharata, Lakhamandal temple is picturesque and fascinating at same time. Little we knew that we are about to visit a temple so sacred/ miraculous that even dead people come back to life for a while.
Enjoying one spot after another, we continued towards Lakhamandal. Road is in reasonably good condition, however is narrow at some stretched due to ongoing widening work. 
Lakhamandal temple is located on Yamunotri road in Jaunsar-Bawar district. With a couple of pit stops, it took us approx. 4 hours to reach the temple. 100m. walk from the parking, we were at the temple premises. 
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Asan Barrage - Waterfront stay with Nature


Along the scenic confluence of the river Asan and Asan Barrage, there stands a resort that feels like a world away from the hustle and bustle of the cities. The journey to get here includes a drive amid the scenic hills, incredible valleys and dense forests setting a perfect stage to disconnect from the fast lane and reset your soul at this secluded spot.

Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam (GMVN) started this "Asan Conservation Resort" in 2016 and provided four beautiful waterfront cottage suites for wonderful lifetime memories. It also offers 18 dormitories at the back side of the resort.

As the resort is located alongside a lake created out of the Barrage, there is a facility where guests can paddleboard good looking boats and enjoy lovely evenings. 

The resort is accessible throughout the year and is a much sought-out destination for bird watching in the months of January-March.

About the Resort:
Budget: 
Waterfront Cottages (SUDLX) ~ Rs. 2800
Dormitories ~ Rs. 350

Please check GMVN website for prevailing prices.

The Accommodation: Cottages consist of two rooms, one each on ground floor and first floor, connected by a spiral staircase. One cottage can comfortably accommodate a small family of three to four and is ideal for those coming in a small group for picnic.

The View
The cottages are sitting pretty along the shore of the lake, the guests taking full advantage of the beautiful natural setting. To check-in, they need to follow a lovely landscaped path, picnic tables and chairs perfect for quiet mornings with or a more jovial gathering in the evening. 

After the necessary formalities and before you head to your room, please take the front desk number for ordering tea, coffee, lunch, snacks and dinner.
The cottage has a convertible sofa-cum-bed on the ground floor which is like a living area with television. There is a spiral staircase connecting the first floor. 

The first floor and is equipped with a bed, tea table for two, slanted V shape ceiling, and balcony on both sides.

The Ambiance
The property, which is off the popular tracks from Dehradun, is all about putting brakes to the rat race of a life and giving yourself a much-needed break. With flowered lawns to walk around or laze about on a sunny day, summers here are as enjoyable as winters. 
For kids, these lawns are like an extended play area.
Enjoying your food alongside lake will be one of the best memories to cherish:

 As will be standing in the balcony in the misty morning.

You will Love It –
Couples looking for a romantic escape and families trying to find a place for a calm vacation will love this property. Those who love to walk around in the gardens and dine alongside the lake in open air will come back here again and again.

You might Not
If you like to be surrounded with fancy restaurants, shops, late night activities and a lot of sightseeing options, better stay at Dehradun. 

Amenities:
Exploring the tranquil water of the lake on paddleboats with hills surrounding it.

Booking amount includes Parking and Breakfast only. Consumables are charged as per the prevailing menu, which is present in every room. Meals choices have to be informed well in advance as the feedstock need to be arranged by evening.

How to reach:
Dehradum is the nearest Airport and Railway Station, 50 km. from Asan barrage.
By Road: 270 Km. from Delhi.

You will love driving to these nearby Attractions (distance mentioned from Asan Barrage):
  1. Ashokan Rock Edict, Kalsi – 20 km.
  2. Lakhamandal – 100 Km.
  3. Renuka Lake – 51 km. (and on way - Poanta Sahib Guridwara, 8 km. and Citrus fruits' orchards at Dhaula Kuan, 24 km.)
  4. Dehradun
  5. Mussourie – 70 km.
  6. Chakrata – 65 km.
To Summarize:
If you love to connect with nature along with relaxation and that too in lake front accommodations, the resort is the perfect place.  

Keep Travelling Guys.


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G for Gokarna

Thankfully we were able to get food last night on our arrival from Udupi. However breakfast of fresh and well prepared Idli, sambhar and chutney convinced my big heart to forgive the hotel for last night shocker. Now we had a full day reserved for this small town of Gokarna known for its beaches and temples. Gokarna meaning cow’s ear is a sacred pilgrimage town noted for Mahabaleshwar Shiva temple. But we were there for some offbeat experiences as well.
With pristine beaches and acclaimed temples, Gokarna is quickly coming as an alternate to Goa for beach lovers and those seeking salvation or relaxation. One can hire a bike/ scooter to go around Gokarna. (But please check the condition of vehicle, as rental agencies do not focus on servicing and the rented vehicle may end up spoiling your plans).
We opted for a scooter and started to Vibhuti waterfalls (42 km. from Gokarna). Once you have come out of Gokarna town, though the road though is good condition, but is quite deserted and only a few travelers will come your way. But in between you will get lot of spots for taking pictures as the road is blessed with amazing natural beauty.
It took us around 50 minutes to reach the entry spot, from where a 30 minutes trek was in the way to take us to the Vibhuti waterfalls. That is how I started the trek, with my kid! 
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