28 April 2015

Tiger's Point, Lonavala

It's really disheartening to find tourist places being badly maintained. Tiger's Point in Lonavala is one of the places which most visitors traveling to Lonavala visit and every inch of the view point is spread with glass pieces. On our Tata Bolt drive, we drove to Tiger's point and were really disappointed with the situation.
Tiger's Point, Lonavala
There are few eateries and non of them serve quality food, so better don't expect anything at Tiger's point and pack your snacks and water bottles, from Lonavala itself. The barricade as well is broken and if you are visiting with kids, better be careful.
Tiger's Point, Lonavala
Being summer, there was no good view, I had visited few years back during monsoon and it had beautiful view with all greens. The weather was no better than Mumbai, it was very much hot, humid and foggy as we visited in the afternoon, might be it gets better once the sun sets. Heard from few fellow bloggers, they go for a late night drive from Mumbai to Tiger's point.
Tiger's Point, Lonavala
Shivalinga Mountain
Travel Info: 
The best way to reach is drive in your own vehicle, as there are no public transport available till this point, nearest bus stop is INS Shivaji around 1.5km. The other option is hire a taxi at Lonavala to visit all of its touristy places.
By Road: Lonavala is 90km from Mumbai and 75km from Pune. You can take the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, or old Mumbai-Pune road to avoid the heavy toll, but expressway is always better for its road condition.
By Train: There are many trains playing on the Mumbai and Pune route and most of them halt at Lonavala.
By Air: Nearest domestic airport Lohegoan Airport in Pune and nearest International Airport is Chhatrapati Shivaji International airport in  Mumbai.

24 April 2015

Bolt Drive to Lonavala with Tata Motors!!! #BoltDrives

It’s that time of the year I eagerly wait for to plan my travels. Kiddo starts her summer vacation this month end and lot of travelling lined up for the coming month. Meanwhile few of we blogger's were invited last weekend by Blogadda for a drive to Lonavala. What better way than escape to a nearby hill station, to beat Mumbai's summer. The drive was to test and experience the drive with the new Bolt by TATA Motors.

All we bloggers joined at Cafe Infinito at BKC, for a presentation and breakfast. We were briefed about the features of the New Tata Bolt (you can go through my previous post on the features here) and the schedule for the day. Blogger's were divided into groups of three with a supervisor in each team, and would drive the Bolt, Revotron or diesel version (which would be exchanged in the second half of the drive). I was in Team D1(the diesel version), and flagged off at Cafe Infinito after which we had the first activity for the day, the Suspension and driving test at the test track created at MMRDA ground. Even before we were flagged off, Captain Bolt, our guide for the day, an unseen, mysterious voice, called on the Tab assigned to our car and made us comfortable about the drive and the activities for the day. The Suspension test was to trace the dots creating picture of a car on a sheet of paper while the car was undergoing the suspension test, to show the balancing ability of the car, even while driving on those bumpy roads.
Then we started our drive to Lonavala. What better road can you expect than the Mumbai-Pune Express Way to take a test drive?? While its ePAS(Electric Power Assisted Steering) with speed sensitivity and active return function, made the driving comfortable, its superior cabin space added to the comfortable drive. We tried all the features of the car, throughout our drive. Its multi mode feature, ECO, city and Sport modes. The voice command, which recognizes most of the Indian accents and controls most of the car functions, like the temperature control of your A/C, the volume control of your audio system, even sending SMS, calling a person from your phones contact and many more. The car has also been given a sporty exterior style with smoked projector headlamps, flame-shaped tail lamps, dynamic alloy wheels and Floating roof.
Mumbai Pune ExpressWay
Drive through the Mumbai-Pune Expressway
There was lot of tweeting and facebook updates going on throughout the drive and Captain Bolt was in constant touch with all the teams. Though we initially lagged behind the other teams, we joined them at Triose at Lonavala on time for the lunch. Had lunch, some chit chat with the blogger friends and then drove to Tiger's point. There was lot of photographing, clicking selfie with the Bolt, with the fellow bloggers, the group pic and lot of pics of the sexy Bolt at the Tiger's point, before we started our return drive.

Our final pit stop of the drive was CCD on the Express Way, where we rounded up the event with the social media contest winners declaration, refreshments and lot of memories from the day. A Sunday well spent at #BoltDrives with Bolt from Tata Motors in association with Blogadda.

22 April 2015

Summer Slam Party at CCD!!! #CCDSummerSlam

Its summer and the weather has got really worse this year. Is everybody feeling the same or is it only me, because this year my kiddo started her afternoon session classes and heading out of the house at noon, really burns her out. Am sure most of us try everyway to keep ourselves cool, by wearing comforting cotton cloths, escaping to the near by cooler places, spending lot of time in pools, visiting water parks or slurping cold and refreshing beverages. And if you fall in the last category, then here is a good news for you, CCD has come up with their Summer Slam refreshers, a mouth watering range of chilled smoothies and slushes.
CCD, CCD Summer Slam, Cafe Coffee Day
Few of we bloggers from Mumbai were invited for a Summer Slam Party at Cafe Coffee Day, Bandra for a funfilled afternoon and to taste their Summer Slam beverages. The event had fun games, photo booth to get our pics clicked with summer props and also a guessing game to taste the flavours blindfolded.
CCD, CCD Summer Slam, Cafe Coffee Day
My kiddo who got along with me for the party, loved their Strawberry POM smoothie and Strawberry Blast slush, for their Strawberry flavours. And me being a lover of slush, loved their Pink Lemonade Slush, a blend of sweet and tangy flavours. 
CCD, CCD Summer Slam, Cafe Coffee Day 
The Summer Slam Range:
The smoothies are a range of a divine creamy concoction with bite size pieces of the key ingredient immersed. Rasmalai Smoothie is the royal Indian mithai re-imagined as a rich, creamy beverage. It carries almond flavours with the very prominent bite of a rasmalai. The Strawberry Pomegranate Smoothie is a delicious cool creamy mix of strawberry and pomegranate, a perfect tease to ones taste buds. Mango Peach Smoothie is the king of fruits blended with the best of peaches guaranteed to satisfy the most intense of fruit cravings.
The slush variants include, the Strawberry Blast Slush which consists of strawberries blended with the goodness of pomegranates. The unique Tropical Spice Slush the strangely wonderful mix of jalapenos with the tropical fruit. The Pink Lemonade Slush a sweet and tangy and loaded with the goodness of pink grape fruit.
CCD, CCD Summer Slam, Cafe Coffee Day
Being the IPL season, these beverages have been named by the IPL teams, relating them to the region, that is Kolkata Rasmalai Smoothie, Mumbai Strawberry POM Smoothie, Bengaluru Mango Peach Smoothie, Rajasthan Pink Lemonade Slush, Chennai Tropical Spice Slush and Delhi Strawberry Blast Slush. Rush to your nearest CCD and beat the heat this summer, with #CCDSummerSlam beverages.

11 April 2015

Weekend Getaway to Silvassa!!!

Its been over a year now that I visited Silvassa and Daman, though I had documented on Daman, Silvassa was left out for certain reason. So here it is.
Silvassa, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Weekend getaway Mumbai, Travel
Clock tower
Silvassa, the capital city of Indian Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli is around 3hours drive from Mumbai. You can plan a day trip to Silvassa or connect with Daman for weekend drive from Mumbai. We started off early morning and took NH8. After a short breakfast break and a visit to Simandaraswami Jinamadir, we reached Silvassa by 11AM. This small town has quite to offer, the tribal museum, a century old church, lion safari, deer safari and some beautiful nature trails.
We reached Silvassa, booked our room at Woodland Regency, our plan was to explore the city for the day and leave for Daman the next morning. Woodland Regency is just near Silvassa bus station and you have Tribal Museum and Church of our Lady of Piety at a walkable distance.

Tribal Museum
The tribal museum showcases the tribal culture of Silvassa through a collection of masks, musical instruments, traditional jewelery and hunting tools. There is also a souvenir shop which sells warli paintings, bamboo crafts, palm leaf mats, all handmade by tribes. You should definitely pick a warli paiting from here as a souvenir. The entry is free and photography is not allowed inside the museum. Just next to Tribal museum is Silvassa Art Gallery, a collection of warli Paintings for display and sale.
Silvassa, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Weekend getaway Mumbai, Travel

Silvassa, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Weekend getaway Mumbai, Travel
Paintings on the outer walls of the museum

Church of our Lady of Piety
Opposite to tribal museum is Church of our Lady of Piety. Built in 1897 by Portuguese the church is said to be one of the oldest standing buildings of Silvassa.
Silvassa, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Weekend getaway Mumbai, Travel
The interior too is very beautiful and painting of Last Supper on the curtains on one of the walls attracts your sight..
Silvassa, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Weekend getaway Mumbai, Travel

Silvassa, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Weekend getaway Mumbai, Travel
While Silvassa city preserves its history and tribal culture through the Church of our Lady of Piety and Tribal Museum, the city lives up to its name Silvassa, 'silva' meaning wood in Portuguese, with its surrounding greens. The place was also called Vila de Paco d'Arcos by Portuguese.

Vasona Lion Safari
We had heard about the Vasona lion safari which is around 5km from Silvassa town and headed to the safari, after our city tour. Unfortunately, the safari really doesn't have much to offer, but with kids, its a one time visit place. While we visited, there were just one lion and lioness which were in real bad condition. You are taken on a 10-15mins drive through the safari in a closed van with grilled window.
Silvassa, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Weekend getaway Mumbai, Travel, Versona Lion Safari
With the very bad safari experience at Vasona, we gave a second thought whether to visit the near by Satmalia deer sanctuary, which is around 5km from the Vasona. When we checked with the maintenance staff of Vasona, we were told Satmalia was very different from their's and there were more than 300 deers.

Satmalia Deer Sanctuary
We drove to Satmalia, the best part of this safari then was we could drive inside the park in our own vehicle, with the deers wandering around in the wide spread woods. 
Silvassa, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Weekend getaway Mumbai, Travel, Satmalia Deer Sanctury But as per recent updates, you can't drive through the park in your own vehicle. Park provides you safari facility in gypsy vans, which is a half an hour drive  through the park. You find deers almost at every 2mins drive. There are 300+ deers, which include Nilgais, cheetals and sambar.
Silvassa, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Weekend getaway Mumbai, Travel, Satmalia Deer Sanctury
There is a watch tower near a lake inside the park, which gives a beautiful view of the park. Being summer, the park was mostly dry and the deers really looked very badly fed. 
Dudhni is around 30km from Satmalia and 40km from Silvassa and well known for its lake. There is boating and other water sports like water scooter, water jet, kayaks and canoes at Dudhni lake. Vanganga lake, which is around 5km from Silvassa is yet another lake which attracts most tourist for the Bollywood movies shot here. It was already 6PM by the time we were done with Satmalia and had to skip Dudhni and Vanganga and next morning we left for Daman.

Travel tips:
Location: Silvassa is around 180km from Mumbai, 130km from Surat and 30km from Daman
How to reach: 
  • By Road: Gujarat State Transport Buses operate between Vapi and Silvassa at regular intervals. Driving direction: Drive on NH 8 from Mumbai, Surat and Daman.
  • By Train: Nearest railway stations Vapi 18km and Bhilad 12km
  • By Air: Nearest airport is Mumbai 180km
Accommodation: Silvassa has many budget, small hotels and luxury resorts, you can book according to your choice.

Vasona Lion Safari:
Timings: 9AM to 5AM
Closed on Mondays
Entry Fee:  Rs. 25 for Adult and Rs. 10 for kids
Satmalia Deer Sanctuary:
Timings: 7AM to 11AM, 3PM to 6PM
Closed on Mondays
Entry Fee:  Rs. 25 for Adult and Rs. 10 for kids(No extra charge for gypsy ride)

8 April 2015

5 Things we did at Mandvi!!

Mandvi is an hours drive from Bhuj city, after our lunch at Shree Swaminarayan Temple, we left for Mandvi. As we drove through the Bhuj-Mandvi road, we could feel a completely contrasting view from our previous days drive to White Rann. While the route to Rann stretched in sands till our sight reached, this route to Mandvi was full of greenery with Sarso ke kheth(mustard fields)too. Our driver called this road samruddh rastha(wealthy road, in-terms of vegetation) which supplies vegetation of Kutch. Mandvi had been the summer retreat for the Kutch rulers for its pleasant weather and was once a major port of Kutch, which connected Far East and Middle East Asian ports. Here is what we did at Mandvi,
5. Visited 72 Jinalay: Just 10km before Mandvi is Bautar Jinalay(Bahttar Jinalay/72 temples), at Koday village. Have you by any chance watched the bollywood movie Khiladi 786, if yes then you know how the movie is related to 72 Jinalay, that was the first thing hubby remembered when I told him we were going to Bautar Jinalay. Like any other Jain temple, the temple is a great white marble structure with intricate carvings, photography is strictly prohibited inside the main temple. The main temple is dedicated to Lord Mahavira, the 24th theerthankara and surrounding the temple are 72 shrines dedicated to other theerthankaras, depicting idols from different siddhakshetr(holy places) across India. Gents are not allowed to enter in shorts, the temple caretaker provides you with a cloth, to wrap around to get inside the temple.
Mandvi, Kutch, Gujarat, Gujarat Tourism, Bhuj
4. Ship Building Yard: I kept reminding my taxi driver, I wanted to visit the Ship Building Yard through out our drive to Mandvi and he said "don't worry madam, you can't miss it, when you are at Mandvi". He was right, as we entered Mandvi city, we could find huge ships being built on the banks of Rukmavati river(river which separates Mandvi city and Salaya). We were told this 400years old building yard has built many ships, which voyage between far east and middle east Asia. Its also said, few ships built here also sailed to Europe.
Mandvi, Kutch, Gujarat, Gujarat Tourism, Bhuj
3. Watched Flamingos at Rukmavati River: Kutch is a treasure of immigrant birds and you can find them at almost every lake and river here in Kutch. When we got down at the ship building yard, flamingos, herons, stilts all were as close as few steps from us and that reminded our visit to Sewri in Mumbai, when we watched Flamingos with binoculars and no way could my cam capture them. A visit to Kutch during winter will treat you with these lovely winged beauties.
Mandvi, Kutch, Gujarat, Gujarat Tourism, Bhuj, Flamingos

2. Visited Vijay Vilas Palace: Vijay Vilas Palace is one of the famous palaces of the region for, many Bollwood movies been shot here, palace of Lagaan movie or Aishwarya's house in Hum Dil De Chuke Saman and many more. The palace is around 7km from Mandvi city. Built in red stone in Rajput style, it has a collection of artifacts, furniture, photographs in display. The top floor of the palace gives a view of surrounding greens, the private beach of the palace and the Mandvi beach.
Mandvi, Kutch, Gujarat, Gujarat Tourism, Travel, Bhuj
1. Enjoyed sunset at Mandvi Beach: Our day at Mandvi ended with a visit to Mandvi beach for sunset. A not so crowded beach, has pony and camel rides, parasailing and water scooter. There is a small play area for kids as well. Huge windmills lined up on the beach, makes it unique from other beaches.
Mandvi, Kutch, Gujarat, Gujarat Tourism, Travel, Bhuj
We drove back to Bhuj by around 8 in the night, had dinner at Green Rock, on Chatti Bari ring road and boarded our train back to Mumbai the same night.

Travel Tips:
Check my post Kutch Diaries Travel Plan to plan your visit to Mandvi
72 Jinalay:
Timings: Open through out the day.
Entry Free
Photographing not allowed inside the temple.
The temple complex has accommodation and dining facility too..
Vijay Vilas Palace:Timings: Open from 9AM to 1PM and 3PM to 6PM
Entry Fee:
  • Week days:
    •  5years to 11years: Rs. 15/-
    • Above 11 years: Rs. 30/-
  • Sundays and Holidays:
    • 5years to 11years: Rs. 25/-
    • Above 11 years: Rs.45/-
  • Mobile Camera: Rs. 25/-
  • Still Camera: Rs. 50/-
  • Video Camera: Rs. 200/-
  • Parking for Private vehicles: Rs. 10/-

1 April 2015

6 Important Tips While Travelling with New Born!!!

I was busy with cousin's family who visited us last week. While their elder son, along with my daughter kept all of us engaged running behind them for their littlest fights, the younger one who is too young to join them, stared them whole day. The little one refreshed my travel memories with my daughter, during her infant and toddling days.
There are lot of things that change a parent's life when they are blessed with a baby. Travelling is something that cannot be avoided at certain situations, but can take a toll on you. Going on road with a baby can become a tiring task and you might not be able to create those special moments. This is not a sign that you should give up, but by following some basic rules and pointers, you can turn your trip into a divine voyage with your baby. From feeding and diaper change to infections, these are your top concerns and sticking at home might sound like a good idea. Infants are not that fragile as fearful parents tend to think and with the right baby products, you can take your baby on a beautiful journey.

Pointers while Travelling with your Baby:
Below mentioned are some of the tips that you should follow in order to have a safe and enjoyable trip with your new born.
1. Prepare a First Aid Kit: Assemble a first aid kit with the most essential supplies that you might need in case of a minor injury to your baby. Prescribed medicines and other provisions can also be kept with the first aid kit, to keep everything close to reach.
2. Apply Sunscreen Lotion: Regardless of the season, using sunscreen for your baby is a must to protect them from sun damage and other skin allergies. A cream with SPF 15 or above is recommended and will help you keep your child safe from the harm’s way. Also using a diaper rash cream will reduce the rash from diapers.
3. Carry Baby in a Car Seat: There are endless dangers of travelling with your baby in your hands. A baby car seat must be secured at the back of the car, where your baby will be comfortable and safe from minor car troubles. Its multipurpose use as a rocker can save you, if your baby is used to of sleeping in cradle at home. This was one of the important tips I learned from my cousin.
4. Extra feeding set: Pack extra bottles and other feeding items, to avoid any urgent situations. You tend to lose a few things when you are travelling and packing extra items will ensure that you won’t have any trouble with your baby's feeding times.
5. Pack Ready-to-use Formula: If you are not breastfeeding your child, and have trouble arranging milk on your trip, then ready-to-use milk powder for babies is a boon. Just dissolve it in a liquid and you are all set to feed the baby anytime, anywhere.
6. Pack enough cloths and diapers: You can never have enough cloths for babies while travelling as they tend to get dirty more often. Pack enough diapers and onesies for your new born and travel stress free for long hours.

Get everything that your baby needs with the comforts of your home at BabyOye.com and its sensational range of online baby care products. Travelling is when you get time with your new born and it is the time when you make memories that will last for a lifetime. Adopt the above tips and travel with your baby with comfort and ease.