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#KonaKonaKotak: The Tale Of True Puducherry

Get Drunk Not Broke,Wander Aimlessly,Get Into Colors Passionately in Puducherry or Feel Peace in            Auroville.

 Formed out of French grid pattern and perpendicular streets of former French India,Puducherry,formally called Pondicherry or French Reviera of the East wasn't love at first sight.Puducherry is a place for those who’d prefer a downtime or a peaceful walk on the promenade or for those who are looking to spend time in cafes or get drunk on tax free booze or cycle at leisure.

#KonaKonaKotak : As you might have heard ING Vysya Bank is now Kotak Mahindra Bank. With this move, Kotak has now made it's home in many cities and towns across India.Even Union Territories like Puducherry.The list of places they are in currently is comprehensive covering the small places.

Memoirs of Puducherry : Chennai To Puducherry Road Trip

It so happened that while my parents were in Chennai for 2 years,we along with my grandpa decided to explore this popular gateway barely 1.5 hours from Chennai.This was 6 years back,when photos were more for memories than my blog.Second time,also was within a month of my first time,when I went with my brother,this time to explore the more fun side.

Puducherry though is not a party place,even though it lacks the zing of Goa,it fills up with the jazz of aimless wanderlust with ambient music around the corner and french homes.

The road trip that took us from Chennai to Pondicherry was along the scenic East Coast Road that had view of the sea along the road.

Purucherry First Glance:Seaside Promenade

As you enter Puducherry,the Seaside Promenade will welcome you with Le Cafe at the promenade and street food.The promenade will remind you a bit about the Marine Drive in Mumbai.

The sea at Promenade is rather intense.

The sea plays wrath here,and it is not a beach to swim but rather a coastline with rocks forming as the peaceful place to sit watching and dripping in water as and when the waves go high.Alongside the road opposite of promenade,you’d see many cafes and colourful colonial buildings.

If you are looking for the real beach,the other beach called Paradise Beach is a great place to be at.

 Puducherry is divided into two parts : The French Quarter(colonial style buildings) and The Indian Quarter(homes with verandas).

Puducherry:The Uniqueness & Where To Eat

 Unlike the many places that we visit in India where hiring a cab/auto becomes a part of transport here walking is easy within the quarters.It is in these quarters that you get authentic cuisine from various parts of the world.Some of the popular places to eat French Cuisine in Puducherry are Baker Street where you get great breakfast and DisDis & Co for the ambience.What I like most about Puducherry is the hint of french names everywhere including cafes as Puducherry has a number of residents with french passports and the culture remains.The colours and the buildings are unlike the rest of India.Sometimes these bright colours and the fact that most people walk and cycle makes puducherry a great gateway with friends or family.There’s always something to do.With the recent add-on as Kallialay surf school and Temple Adventures scuba diving ,Puducherry too has evolved in the last 6 years nonetheless.

Puducherry:Where To Stay & Auroville

Swades Guest House is a wonderful place to stay in Puducherry.Puducherry can very easily fit your pocket.On our excursions we went to Auroville and Chunnambar Boat House.Situated 20 minutes from Puducherry,Auroville is an experimental township,based on the vision of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.Arka is where you can stay in Auroville.

The Auroville Campus containing Matrimandir

Auroville is an interesting township wherein Matrimandir will make you feel that you are in another world.The large golden Matrimandir surrounded by plush green grass resembling a golf ball is for divine consciousness.The reservations to enter inside Matrimandir needs to be made prior.

There are volunteer programs as well as eco friendly products and suggestions…The trail to Matrimandir is lovely.It takes you through bamboo trees and lots of greenery.The electricity in the campus is generated by wind power.

Chunnambar : Puducherry Short Excursion

At Chunnambar Boat House

 Paradise Beach is a boat away from Chunnambar.Chunnambar is a very quiet and lovely place that takes you in a boat along the backwaters mixing into the sea to the beach.Quite a lovely ride and the beach too.

                               Paradise Beach is one of the most visited beach in Puducherry. 

Puducherry is a place for exploration,for those who love travelling slowly.Puducherry grows on you.Its the only place where may be you’d want to stay for a month,cycling,wandering in colonial quarters,eating up world cuisine,and finally ending up with spiritual enlightenement.That was lovely isn’t it?Would love to hear your stories too here...

                                       At Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus,Puducherry

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Backpacking Santorini:Pyrgos Cultural Village,Greece

Culture is, and always have been,the "Key"! View from the ruins of Kasteli.

‘I fume every time when anyone says their options were limited at a place they went’. Travel is infinite.You can’t see everything all the time - the world is huge.You need not always go by checklist either.But whatever you wish to see or wherever your gut takes you , is where your destination must be next.Always.For rest,there might be a next chance at either the same place or some other.

Today’s story is in silence.A random gut instinct that took me to more interiors of Santorini.A white village called Pyrgos.

To those who succumb to a well-planned itinerary,Travel is vision.Take a bus.Talk to locals.And wander.Sometimes it takes you to places which may just not be listed anywhere,or even if it is,you’d rather enjoy your own time.Santorini doesn’t always have to mean Volcanic tour or Oia .It can also mean your own search for exploration elsewhere.

In the lost passage of time

                                                       Last Blogposts on Greece 

                                                   Backpacking Santorini:Perissa Black Beach
                                                      Backpacking Santorini:Red Beach
                                                          Backpacking Santorini:Oia
                                                              Backpacking Athens
                                                            Other Blogs on Greece
                                                                 Greece by Indrani
                                                       Greece by Gaurav Bhan Bhatnagar
                                                             Greece by Santorini Dave

A trip to Perissa,Santorini in my last blogpost was where I had left.When I took the local bus at around 5:30pm from Perissa,I thought I was late and should return to Fira but when I saw Pyrgos come in between buzzing with small town cafes,I just took my bags,turned my head towards the bus driver and asked ‘When is the last bus to Fira’? He said 8pm.I never looked back.Never estimated time.Just walked.

Pyrgos is 7km from Fira

Pyrgos Cultural Village is a small unspoilt village on a hill with a maze of tiny streets in Santorini.So small,that that it takes a while to grasp the peacefulness around.Even a pin drop would be felt a little away from the main road.The main square where the bus stops has local coffee and eatery shops,with people mostly from the village who come or tourists who are looking for rather local food options.A random chatter,Fried Fish and Santorini wine,that’s what make Pyrgos a little different.When taking the local bus or along the way from Fira to Red beach/Perissa,you would see Megalachori,where vineyards are labelled as wine village.Megalochori is definitely a place to experience the rich wine tradition. The famous Boutari winery is found on the village's outskirts.

Think local first

But for me,time was less.It was almost 6 pm when I arrived.The hike to the top looked intriguing and unfamiliar.Super narrow alleyways marked with arrows had along the hike, Church and Monastery and white homes.This one is a hike when you want to calm yourself.Literally.At the top is Venetian castle (Kasteli) .Good quality souvenirs and local crafts as well as local cafes are all located on the uphill hike.It’s fascinating to walk right into the old preserved homes and witness how people still live in them.The bus stops at Santo Wine, Pyrgos Restaurant, and Pyrgos town. It gets very windy up there.

Specially when I stood up for the photo-op over the old ruined castle at the top,I almost had a Marilyn Monroe moment :)

A street in the old village

Over the hike of 1.5 hours,I almost lost track of time.Each alleyway,led to another.Many of these steps diverted in directions marked at the bottom.Along one such alleyway was written Central square.I smiled.I didn't know what that meant...

Even if I get lost,getting lost would just be fun.Because apart from me,I could spot barely 2-3 tourists.Sometimes along the way not even one soul.The shops at the hill were closed by then.The sun was setting.Drama plays with me.It felt surreal.Nothing short of extraordinary but yet very convincing.

The drama unfolds

It is one of those random places where walking past you may come across people who sell local Greek cotton.He came.And I congratulated him for the colors his home had in hues of bright green,blue and white.He said he has plans for expansion soon.. I moved on..

Coming back downhill,I spotted a spooky home.I wondered if there were any ghost stories associated but there wasn’t a soul to confirm.It was very unlike the rest of surroundings covered in moss,deserted.

As I reached the main square,I chatted with one of the passersby and asked on why the homes in Santorini are white.He first said ‘Because they like the color’,and then stopped in amusement and said wait its because it keeps us cool during summers and hot during winters.I nodded.Remember white village,Mijas in Spain,yes the color white is made of thick limestone which keeps the correct temperature inside.

There is nothing about Backpacking that is brave.Once done,you wouldn't love the conventional tried and tested packages.Because here you are your master,you are your destiny.

Remember Turkey and Greece are one of the easiest place to backpack.If you do not wish to do it my way you can always use services of The Backpacker Co(8 days island hopping in Greece scheduled for June) or Contiki.

                                                              Church in Pyrgos

I gazed at my watch.It was still 15 minutes more.The bus had not arrived.I was hungry.So in one of the eateries at the main square,I ordered ‘Fish of the day’ eagerly awaiting to have.Just then,from the left corner of my eye,I saw the last bus almost going.May be by the time I had checked the menu and ordered,the bus halted and now was ready to move.

I shouted to the owner,Cancel my order.My going. Running past the two tiny little shops and saying goodbye to the quaint Pyrgos I hurriedly got into the bus.Every one exchanged a wicked stare.I gasped and got into an empty seat at the back.

The ticket collector smiled.We have met before,haven’t we! Yes.Santorini is a small island . Indeed.

Tomorrow we catch the ferry to Mykonos,the island of the winds and the ibiza of Greece.See ya!

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MakeMyTrip:Just Uncancel Your Travel Plans

My moving fingers plans sometimes the destination my wandering eyes desire. An escape to the world where I wish to turn everything off and disconnect from the monotonous. Just then the phone rings : An urgent meeting requires me to be late night in the office/an urgent illness that makes me walk a little less/an urgent flood or a strike/an urgent anything which we have no control.At that moment,we feel helpless,prompting us to cancel the very trip that we wanted so badly.At that time we think if we could only..control our fate and turn it into fun.

                   No matter what everyone else says Trips are emotional investment to happiness

 Like everyone else,it has happened to me in the past.When I was planning a family trip to Kashmir for the 4th time , I got to know the outbursts of protests are horrendous,got calls from family to cancel the trip,and that’s exactly what I did.Somewhere in my heart,the thought of 'cancelling the trip' took the longest time.I consoled myself it may not be as bad but cancelling was the wise thing to do after all none wants a spoilt vacation that welcomes us in with protests and pelting stones.A beautiful place like Kashmir deserved a silent visit sipping onto the Kahwa as the previous time having some quiet family time and the cancellation stayed in my mind for some time.Planning it again meant going through the analysis again of cheapest airfares,the hotel rates,the etc etc of travel once again.Let’s admit it,once we cancel a trip,a hope is gone,if not for long term,at least for a while.

          The regained hope by ‘#Uncancel for now the same moments can be captured at a later date  

MakeMyTrip Brings Back That Hope! When the world says “Give UP”,the hope whispers “Try It one more time"

As life always offers a second chance that is called tomorrow,MakeMyTrip makes us do the trip again at the same price we cancelled with the new concept called ‘#Uncancel'.

"Uncancel is a first-of-its-kind feature that allows you to make the same trip you had cancelled, at a later point of time within your same initial budget. At MakeMyTrip, they understand that no one WANTS to cancel a pre-planned trip, but more often than not, due to unforeseen contingencies, people HAVE to cancel their trips. That's why MakeMyTrip presents UNCANCEL.

The two recent beautiful ads by Makemytrip,with a theme of ‘Khushmeet ka underwater sapna’ and ‘son meets his dad for the first time’ are commercials that take you to your real life situations when you have to cancel a trip you otherwise wanted to.I love the innocence of Khushmeet when he says me galat paida ho gaya and instead dreamt of goa,and I love the complexity of human emotions by Karan who says me apne dad se pehli bar milne ja ra tha and then cancels it with the desire to uncancel it afterwards.Watch the video and you’d know for yourself what I am talking about..

By opting for Uncancel, you need not cancel your travel plans, when faced with a last-minute spoiler! They can simply push their travel dates to a later date. However, the beauty is this.You travel later, but you pay nothing more than what you paid initially. In essence, Uncancel protects you from Travel Price hikes. So, why are they doing this? Simply because they know, for you, some trips are more than just trips! To Uncancel your trip, you simply have to Click on this link fill in some details and submit the form.

  Make My Trip Uncancel Details And Form

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Backpacking Greece:Santorini,Perissa Black Beach

It wasn't my first time with the Black beach.If you remember my All India Road Trip where we stopped at Daman Beach for a while,although that beach was dirty,the colour Black of Beach in Daman, India didn't impress me as much.So I was in a way skeptical if this would , but choosing Black Beach at Perissa was a deliberate choice after I had been playing for a while with the Red pebbles at the Red beach.

In the beginning - it was all black and white @Perissa Beach Santorini

While the sea at Red Beach and Oia was calm,making me think if there was any impact of the cold winds I could feel in my hair along the caldera,black beach was stubborn - an affirmation that wind plays fury.Like a teen revolting.Like thunderstorms.Like dare you come in front.

Let us be waves of love and let it wash the universe @ Perissa Black Beach Santorini

Previous Blogposts

Other Blogs

Best Blog Source on Santorini

So strong were the winds,that the Super Jets and the Jets and the boats were cancelled for the day.But the play remained play.

Local Bus Tip:Catch the bus from Fira Bus Stand to Perissa.Route maps in last blogpost.

Me,With the tossing waves 

 The sport ‘surfing' requires big waves to make a splash.This time the waves were bigger than enough and people who could,surf they did.

Life is better when you surf


The cliff alongside the black beach added a contrast to the color black making it all the more appealing.

Cliff-ed Beauty

The ATV’s parked alongside was to have beach fun.It was where I spend some time sitting on the beach,playing with the dogs of the locals,and watching the dogs play by the tide.I felt at ease as if enjoying my downtime by the beach.

ATV's at Perissa Black Beach

Every dog has his day!

Dogs never bite me,just humans - Marilyn Monroe

Relax because not every page has to be a masterpiece

But for today,we have got to pause.Because my stories will never end.Let me by then take you to a series of photo essay of the Perissa Black Beach:

On the way - The view from inside the local bus...

Black Sand patterns on the Perissa Beach

If you wish to camp..this is right at the beach

Watching the waves!

That could have made the 'Jets' cancel

The eateries alongside the beach are little costly

Perissa Church @ Perissa Black Beach

So tomorrow I am going to take you to another white village where I ran to catch the last local bus as I lusted for Artichokes Fishes which I had placed to fry.

/*This trip was part funded as a result of win worth Rs 1 lakh from Skyscanner and Blogadda.In that 1 lakh,I chose my stay and flights to Greece,France and Italy and a part of Turkey*/

Let’s see how my journey goes…..

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