31 March 2014

Antim Kevali Shri 1008 Jambu Swami Jain Temple, Mathura

We reached Mathura around 9am and headed to Antim Kevali Shri 1008 Jambu Swami Digamber Jain temple, where we had prior booking of our room. 
As per Jainism, Mathura is considered to be the nirvana kshetra(salvation place) of Jambu Swami, who was disciple of Gandhar Sadharmacharya of last Theerthankara Mahavir. Jambu Swami attained salvation at the age of 84years in the lush green place of Uttar Pradesh known as Mathura, which was then surrounded by  84 dense forests. So is it called Mathura Chaurasi(84 in Hindi) till today, and considered to be a holi place by followers of Jainism.
The temple shrine has marble idol of lord Ajitanath theerthankar, which is said to be found during an excavation of land in Gwalior. Apart from Ajitanath, there are idols of Neminath, Parshwanath and Mahavir in the temple.
Behind the temple is the idol of Jambu Swami. The idol stands on a tall platform, in a lush green garden. Temple and the idol of Jumbu Swami is on the Delhi-Mathura National Highway No.2 and can be seen while driving.

Related Posts: Check out the complete series on Golden Triangle Tour

27 March 2014

Mathura, the first glimpse

Am back from 10days trip to Golden Triangle, Mathura and Ranthambore. Its been our first long tour after my daughter was born, as we were always worried about her diet during our travel. But this time, she was the one who was very much eager about the trip and been waiting since she finished her academic session for the year. The train journey was what she was more fasinated of, as she hardly remembered her last train journey.
Our trip started with Mathura, which we were supposed to reach by 7:30am. Unfortunately our train had some issue and we where stuck near Bharatpur for more than an hour. And this is what we did, while waiting for our train to start,
And we reach Mathura 
Spicy bhajias, with chilli pricks at Mathura station,
Join the virtual tour of the entire trip in upcoming posts.
Mathura is 170kms from Delhi and around 57kms from Agra.
How to reach:
By Road: Mathura is well connected by road with other places of India.
By Train: Mathura Junction is an important rail head in Mumbai-Delhi and Chennai-Delhi. Most fast trains, stop at Mathura Junction, which is 5kms from Mathura city.
By Air: Nearest airport is at Agra, which is around 57kms from Mathura.

Related Posts: Check out the complete series on Golden Triangle Tour

22 March 2014

India's First Monorail

India gets its first Monorail in Mumbai. The 1st phase of the Mumbai Monorail system is launched and is presently running between Chembur and Wadala depot. The same is expected to be extended till Sant Gadge Maharaja Chowk in the 2nd phase.
Train fare in this line is between Rs.5 to Rs.11(for adults and kids taller than 3ft). They don't have the option of round trip ticket, you need to buy the return ticket at the distination. The ticket(a coded coin)has to be swiped at the 1st floor and board your train from the 2nd floor. At the destination, the ticket needs to be dropped, to get the exit gate opened.
Kids enjoying the ride
Presently trains are operating between 7am to 3pm, expected to operate full fledge from 5am to midnight by Feb 2015. The trains are 4 coach with seating capacity of 18 people. The interior is very pretty, looks like a toy train and kids thoroughly enjoy the ride.  
View of Eastern Freeway from the train
Two trains crossing each other
Go have a ride of the only Monorail in India, in Mumbai.

12 March 2014

And its Golden Triangle!!!

After been postponed twice, finally my trip to Golden Triangle is taking picture. Am off for a 10days tour to Agra, Delhi, Jaipur along with Mathura, Ranthambore, this weekend. A planned tour, ended up in a convenient, comfortable and budget package. My daughter finished her session for the year and 17th March being Holi, an off for hubby, we booked our train tickets for 14th evening. Hubby's 4 days leave ended up in a 10days tour. With my 4 year old, all care I had to take was to give her proper rest and not to exhaust her. So we preferred travelling at evening and end up resting at nights. My grand pa's travel diary helped me with accomadation(Jain Pravasi Gruh) at all the places, which are at the heart of the city and turned out to be economical too. Below is our itiniery,
14th: Take our train(August Kranti Rajdhani) from Mumbai to Mathura at 5pm(hubby would join us directly at the station from office)
15th: Reach Mathura by 7:30am, tour of Krishna Janma bhoomi. Leave for Agra by evening.
16th: Explore the city of Agra(Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Akbar's Mausoleum). Reach Delhi(A/C volvo bus) by 9:30pm.
17th: Celebrate Holi at Delhi, explore Delhi on our own as the Delhi darshan and HoHo service doesn't operate of Mondays(Jama Masjid, India Ghat, Embessy Lane, Purana Quila, Feroz Shah Kotla).
18th: Red Fort and HoHo Delhi full day tour(Qutub Minar, Lotus Temple, Humayun's Tomb, Safdarjung Tomb, Hauz Khas Village) shopping at Dilli Haat and SN market, dinner at Chandini Chowk, take night bus(A/C sleeper) to Jaipur.
19th: Reach Jaipur at 5:30am. After relaxing explore Jaipur(Albert Hall Museum, Hawa Mahal, City Palace, Jantar Mantar) heritage walk through Pink City and shopping.
20th: More on Jaipur(Amer Fort, Jaigarh Fort, Nahargarh Fort, Jal Mahal) leave for Sawai Madhopur(Amjer-Jabalpur, Dayodaya Express).
21st: Jungle Safari
22nd: Another jungle Safari, take our train(Mumbai Rajdhani) to Mumbai.
23rd: Reach Mumbai by 9:30am
This would be a combined tour of heritage, art, culture, religion, wildlife and festive celebration.

Related Posts: Check out the complete series on Golden Triangle Tour

Malaysia - A Dream Trip

“The traveler was active; he went strenuously in search of people, of adventure, of experience. The tourist is passive; he expects interesting things to happen to him. He goes “sight-seeing.” – Daniel J. Boorstin
How true the quote sounds, for a nature lover and passionate traveler like me. I travel in search of people, of adventure and of experience, of my trips. Here is my wishlist for Malaysia,
Adventurous climb of Mt Kinabalu Via Ferrata, Sabah:
Via ferrata, is a mountain path consisting of a series of rungs, rails and cables embracing the rock face. I would like to go for a challenging adventure of climbing Mount Kinabalu, a beginner's climb along the granite walls and then might be the intermediate route to have the breathtaking view of the heights and sights.
Canopy Walk through Taman Negara, Pahang:
Taman Negara is the first and oldest official Protected Area in the country. It preserves the land's indigenous nature in perpetuity. River cruising, jungle trekking and a walk through the world's oldest rainforest canopy, wildlife photography and cave exploration is what I would do in Taman Negara.
Explore Cameron Highlands, Pahang:
Cameron Highlands lies less than an hour off the main North-South Highway, and is a pleasant, easy 3.5hr drive from Kuala Lumpur. Situated 1,500 meters above sea level, Cameron Highlands comprise a series of little townships. I would love to walk through those little villages, visit the butterfly, strawberry, honey bees farms and sprawling tea plantations. Trek through the place and watch out for some amazing birds.
Scuba Diving at Pulau Payar, Langkawi, Kedah:
The sparkling of jade green islands that make up Pulau Payar lies 30km south-east of Langkawi. An hour boat ride reaches you to the best marine park in Malaysia's West coast. I would love to go for a scuba dive along the reef system of Pulau Payar, the sparkling of jade green islands. 
Explore Langkawi Mangroves, Kedah:
Langkawi Magroves is an intricate network of streams and is home to hundreds of endemic jungle species of wildlife most exciting of which are brahminy kites and huge sea eagles. Would go for jungle trekking, cave exploration, village visits, exploration of mangrove flora and fauna.
Are you a nature lover and adventurous person or a person who wants to experience luxury and  shopping??
There is something for everyone in Malaysia.  Go Explore Malaysia!!
I am participating in the MalaysiaJao Blogathon Contest in association with BlogAdda.com.
Image credit Malaysia Tourism  official page.

8 March 2014

International Women's Day at Korum Mall

Korum Mall, Thane, had some interesting events this International Women's day. Medical checkup for women by Fortis, Nail Art, Make over by The Body Shop, cookery workshop with celebrity chef Shantanu and Open Market by Women Entrepreneurs. 
Open Market, a platform for Women to showcase their creation. There were some really wonderful artifacts for sale, 
Home decor, diyas of clay
Chocolate gift wraps, chocolate bouquets
And the cookery workshop with chef Shantanu Gupte of Food Food TV channel, where he prepared some yummy Nachos
Chef Shantanu Gupte with his dish

6 March 2014

Sewri Fort

After an amazing early morning Flamingo watch at Sewri Jetty, we headed to Sewri Fort, one amongst the Mumbai Fort Circuits. A fort which is lesser known and seemed like we were the only group who headed to the fort amongst the people gathered for Flamingo watch. The fort is few minutes walk from the jetty.
Built by British on a quarried hill in 1680 this fort was originally meant to be a checkpost. Once British gained power, the fort was converted into prison and later used as godown by Bombay Port Trust. In the year 1772, the fort held-off a Portuguese attack. After India's independence the fort was taken over by the Mumbai Port Trust.
The back wall of the fort is completely damaged and below is the view of the mangrove from the fort. The Flamingos can be best viewed from this place.
Check out Anuradha Shankar's blog on Sewri Fort with a list of forts of Mumbai.
Related posts, Bandra Fort.

1 March 2014

"Flamingo and Wader Watch" at Sewri, with Sanctuary Asia

I was introduced to Sanctuary Asia last year at Aircel initiated blogger's meet. Bittu Sahgal, the founding editor of Sanctuary Asia was one of the panelists at "Tiger as a Metaphor for all of Nature" meet. Bittu Sahgal is an environmental activist who has been working on conservation of wildlife and protection of the country from the worst impacts of climate change. Sanctuary Asia had organised "Flamingo and Wader watch" on 27th Feb at Sewri jetty. So it was just not a bird watch event, but to create awareness on conservation of these magnificant creature.
As 27th was a holiday, thought of not missing this opportunity as I had heard, it was always preferred to visit Sewri in groups. As per the tide timings the best time for the watch was 7 to 8:30am and to reach at 7, had to leave home by 6am. Kiddo very much eager to watch Flamingos, woke up on time and there we were at Sewri jetty by 7am, with other birdwatchers. The best part of the event was, they had arranged spotting scopes and binaculors for watching the magnificant birds. Mentor Dr. Parvish Pandya introduced us to Flamingos and their migration to Mumbai's coastline for breeding.

Of the world's five species of flamingos two occur in Indian subcontinent, the greater flamingos and the lesser flamingos. The greater flamingos are said to be the tallest of all the species with an average of 4 feet. The lesser flamingos compensate for their shorter stature by richness of their colour. The largest population of these species nest and breed at the Great Rann of Kutch in Gujrat. About 12-15 percent of the entire South Asian population of the lesser Flamingos is said to immigrate to Sewri, others have to travel all the way to Africa's Lake Nakuru. Its also said relatively lesser inhibit Thanjavur Dist in Tamil Nadu, Chilka in Orissa and Samhar Lake in Rajasthan. Soda lakes, salt lagoons and tidal mudflats form the habitats of flamingos, for the crustaceans, worms and blue green algae which they feed on. The pink colour of the flamingo is due to the pink pigment found in algae.
The birds were very far and could be only viewed with spotting scope, below were few pics I was able to click with my cam.
Sewri's birds will be one of the first victims of climate change in Mumbai, as rising seas claim the mudflats they inhabit. Pollution and unmanaged toxic waste already pose a grave threat to their survival. The Sewri Nhava Sheva sea link is planned straight through this precious natural bay and will devastate the mangroves, the mudflats, the birdlife and other species in this area. So if this project is implimented, Mumbai will be losing these creature.