Thursday, June 4, 2015

My most memorable trip!


Once in a lifetime, two people decide to begin a journey together – a beautiful journey, where you wish to stop and smell the roses together, get drenched in the rain, look at the shining stars in the night sky, entwine arms and write a future together. After a big fat Punjabi wedding, we began our beautiful holiday together.

We took a bus from Jammu to Katra. With the snow clad mountains and the hilly path ,the beautiful view and the perfect partner, there was nothing to complain. Add some coffee to the above mixture and all you get is a deadly combination! Pure Bliss!
                                 
Having a cuppa waiting mid-way from Jammu to Katra.It was freezing cold and when the bus took a much needed stop, we helped ourselves to some tasty Nescafe!! Ho shuru har pal aise, ho shuru har pal aise… Nescafe!
We reached Katra late evening and gorged on some very tasty aloo parantha and rajma at the Vaishnav dhaba. We were so hungry, that the food was over before we realized we hadn’t really clicked any photos of the most awesome paranthas we ever had.Post the yummy dinner, we headed to the local market and hubby sweetly let me free to shop.                                                
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With the world around us sleeping, we woke up at the strike of dawn, dressed up and headed for more than a kilometre long journey up hill to reach the Katra helipad to worship the Vaishnu Devi shrine.
                        
See the dark sky and look at us fresh and happy at the Katra Helipad, Jammu waiting to board our helicopter for our visit to the Vaishnu Devi shrine.                         
 The snow clad mountains were perfect and made the journey even more memorable. It was my first helicopter ride and the aerial view was perfect. Heaven on earth!                        
We were lucky to be able to worship the shrine without a crowd. We spent all our time offering prayers and then headed back to Katra for the rest of our journey. It was tiring and we barely had any strength on our way. We headed to the same Vaishnav dhaba and hogged on the yummy rajma with paranthas and headed to the Jammu railway station to catch a train to Amritsar.

Is there a place where you’d forget your travel of more than 24 hours and still not be able to close your eyes and behold a miracle?
We were lucky to visit the Golden temple, Amritsar at 3am and it was such a site. We didn’t fell any hunger , no tiredness, no cold… pure bliss                                 
The hubby had included this visit in our already busy vacation plan and it was worth everything, every bit and every second. After visiting the beautiful Golden temple, we headed to the beaches!
Andaman calling!
We booked ourselves a package with Cox and Kings and boy, what a wonderful vacation were we looking forward to.
Day 1
We reached Port Blair in the afternoon ,checked in our hotel and had our lunch. We changed into our holiday clothes and went to the Corbyn’s Cove Beach on Port Blair.                                                 
We held hands, enjoyed the waves washing over the beach and watched the sun go down hand in hand. The perfect beginning which relaxed all our senses. With really less crowd around us, we had all the time and space to enjoy, to breathe J
We then headed to the Cellular jail or “Kala Pani” - the infamous jail where many freedom fighters were arrested . The old jail still shouts out the history. There was a very beautiful lights and sound show which took us back and narrated the story of Veer Savarkar and other freedom fighters who were imprisoned there. They don’t allow you to click any photos here. It was pretty dark when the show ended and we didn’t really have the energy to see the jail, so we called it a night.With the stars shining bright, we got back to the hotel and had a delicious dinner.
Day 2
This day dawned with a beautiful boat ride to the North Bay Island. It is also known as the Coral island because of the rich and exotic reeds and fauna. We enjoyed the steam boat ride to the island with the clouds hovering high . Look at the black clouds early in the morning and the silver lining being, there was no rain. The weather was perfect and romantic and the boat perfect for some awesome pics!
                                             
The coral island is famous for glass-bottom boats. These are medium sized boats, which can accommodate 6 people and 1 guide. The bottom of the boats have magnifying glasses. The guide helps take a thick black plastic sheet to cover the entire boat and then view the beautiful flora and fauna underneath. It was  a pleasure to see it, just that there was no place to click pics and the few we did don’t really reflect the experience we had.
To make this day even more amazing, we headed over to our first ever sea walking experience. They have these huge helmets which have an oxygen pipe attached. You enter the water and they place the helmet on your head and then starts the beautiful sea walk inside the sea J
The sea walk was fantastic. We had a choice between sea walking, snorkelling and scuba diving and we were happy we decided to sea walk. We were actually surrounded with fishes and corals and reefs.Wow! And then there was complete silence. Serenity!Peace!
                                        
As if the surprises weren’t enough, we headed to the Ross Island by another steam boat and this time were lucky to learn how to actually manoeuvre the boat.                                

Hubby smartly did it for a couple of seconds till we retired on the deck for some photos!  I am just standing there doing nothing :P
                                  
Ross Islands inhabited the British who ruled the Andaman.The island had deserted look where ruins of a colony existed. There was a Church, a bakery and hundreds of deers and peacocks.

Hubby standing at the gate of the Church ruins.
It was meal time for the animals when we were heading back and the care takers were feeding them, we saw a herd of deer following the care takers. The site was breath taking – two men with huge bags of food being followed by a huge herd. We just stood there and digested the scene. A deer happily volunteered for this beautiful pic.
Making way through the ruins we headed to one of the most beautiful and peaceful beaches I have ever been too.
                                     
A week before we visited the place, bad weather and thunder storms were experienced, so the stony path to the beach was blocked, but the hubby found a way and we headed down to the beach. And for 30 minutes before others joined us, we were all alone on the complete stretch.
We held hands, played in the waters, enjoyed the light drizzling and chatted about how lucky we were to be there, then!

We headed over to our hotel at Port Blair and went to the Fortune group of hotels for a candle-lit dinner. We walked our way back to our hotel after dinner, hand in hand on the streets of Port Blair. No pollution, no honking horns, no crowd – only the shining stars and us.
Day 3
The new day saw us getting ready and heading to the Havelock island via the ferry. The hotel staff packed us sandwiches and fruit juice for breakfast and lucky we to not eat any of it during the journey. The waters were turbulent and the ferry accommodates more than 250 people. So a lot of people were at unease, though the staff was courteous and happy to help.

As our tummies were empty, fortunately the hubby and I were perfectly fine and enjoyed the ferry ride. After reaching Havelock, we took a bumpy ride to our cottage near the Radha nagar beach. The cottages were beautiful and spacious.

After a light lunch, we headed to the beach. Radhanagar beach is one of the best beautiful beaches in Asia. The cottages were at a stone throw distance from the beach, so we changed into our beach wear and headed to the beach minus the cell phones , minus the camera. We had the time of our lives and stayed at the beach till it was late night. Radha nagar beach is clean and is not commercialised, where you can have all the privacy – no prying eyes, no vendors, no plastics, no dirt, just a vast and clean stretch of blue water.
Day 4
On the fourth day, we headed to the Elephant beach in super-fast machine boats. This beach is famous for various water sports but the weather did not favour us. We were given a complimentary snorkelling experience by our tour operators, but the waters have gone muddy so we didn’t snorkel. Instead the hubby made me feel like a princess and clicked some awesome snaps!
                          
We headed to Port Blair and had the evening to ourselves. We had a sumptuous dinner at the hotel buffet and enjoyed the view from the hotel terrace, from where we could see the beach far away.
Day 5
The last day in Port Blair was kept for leisure and for shopping. But we headed to the Cellular Jail. Given the heritage lover I am, I couldn’t stop but ask the husband for a revisit to the jail when he asked me what I wanted to do. And viola! We were at the jail. We explored the prison rooms and related the view with the description we were given in the brochure and the lights and music show on the first day.  We then headed to the hotel and spent some time lazing around till it was time for our flight back home.
This was the most romantic and memorable trip of my life.
A trip which I can go back to, if given the choice and chance.
A beautiful journey which we began as newly marrieds and came back as soul mates!!

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