Sunday, March 29, 2015

So many places to see in this one lifetime!

black-winged kite
One lifetime is indeed not enough to visit the so many beautiful places in India alone!

Here is another lovely place that is easily doable if you are in Bengaluru or in any of the adjoining states.

Masinaguri In Tamil Nadu is wonderful not only for bird watching but to experience the pure bliss of being amidst nature. From Bengaluru It will be a slightly longish drive, a little over 5 hours if you take the Benagluru Mysore Ooty road. However, the drive is absolutely wonderful because of the areas that you cross on your way, such as Bandipur, almost get the feeling of driving through a forest. Almost always in such drives the journeys turn out to be more exciting and invigorating!

These bird pictures (and a couple of animals as well) are from this belt right up to Ooty. The pictures are from my cousin, Soma’s album.

Black and orange flycatcher
Black Eagles

Fairy Bluebird
Indian Blackbird

Jerdon's leafbird
Laughing Thrush Nilgiri Dodda Betta

Nilgiri flycatcher
Oriental honey buzzard

Robin Nilgiri Blue Avalanchi-Ooty
Shaheen falcon

Birding place in Masinagudi

Elephants in Mudumalai
Nilgiri langurs

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Akshi: A quiet getaway just a few hours from Mumbai

Akshi beach
Akshi beach near Alibag is around 3 hours drive from Mumbai. If you are looking for a quiet weekend away from the city and enjoy being in the midst of nature then Akshi may be your destination.

Not only is the beach clean and quiet, if you like bird watching you may be able to sight a fair number of birds as well. Akshi is around 6 kms away from Alibag. There are a number of places to stay near Akshi, you may want to stay near Alibag where you will find more accommodation options.

I am sharing a few pictures taken at Akshi by Soma who went to Akshi on a weekend trip in December last year. 

Arctic Skua
Common Tern-Akshi

Hueglin's Gull,Akshi

Little Terns- Akshi
Pomarine Jaeger-Akshi

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Itachuna Rajbari West Bengal, India: A Glimpse

I am sharing a small video clipping of the over 300 years old Itachuna Rajbari in the Hooghly district of West Bengal, India. This video clipping will give you an idea about the place.

This is just a glimpse of the ground floor level, there is so much more...
The history, the ambience, and the feeling of spending time in a place that is over 300 years old is really quite something !

You can find more information on Itachuna in my earlier post here:
Itachuna Rajbari; Experience a bit of Bengal's heritage on a weekend trip

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Itachuna Rajbari; Experience a bit of Bengal's heritage on a weekend trip

Itachuna Rajbari entrance
If you want to experience living in a heritage house, it is now possible. Just a few hours (3 hours) drive from Kolkata will take you to Itachuna Rajbari in Hooghly district of West Bengal.

By Car: From Kolkata we took the Durgapur Expressway via Vidyasagar setu. After driving for over an hour, on the left you will find Hindusthan Hotel. The left exit right after that will take you to the road which will turn under the bridge. Take that road and you will be in Bosipur, keep driving till you reach Halusai (around 20 kms) and then turn left towards Khanyan Railway Station, Itachuna Rajbari is very close to the station. We missed the Hotel Hindusthan landmark and we ended up doing 50 km extra! I would recommend leaving early in the morning to avoid traffic, you will be able to reach in a little over three hours. You can also get there by train, the station where you will need to get off is "Khanyan".

The history of Itachuna Rajbari, which is over 300 years old, is very interesting. Itachuna Rajbari's history goes back to 1776.They were Bargees (Maratha warriors) who came to rule Bengal (Maratha warriors were referred to as Bargees by Bengalis). Many of the Bargees settled down in Bengal and became wealthy traders. It was one such Maratha warrior family that stayed back in Bengal and built this beautiful building.

This place is just the perfect getaway if you are looking for a quiet, peaceful and scenic weekend. Away from everyday chaos this is the place to just network for some reason just wasn't there, so I was blissfully cut off from the rest of the world. The areas around the Rajbari is green and there are quite a few water bodies around it. It is a perfect place to rest, recuperate, and spend time enjoying nature, good food, and music! Yes, music of the flute variety! There is a person who comes in every morning and evening and he plays the flute. It was a lovely experience and somehow added to the ambience!

In the evening we were provided a tour of the Rajbari and the areas around it.
All in all, it was a great experience to spend a weekend drinking in history and gorging on delicious food.

The rooms are pretty good. I did not have much of a choice because it was a spontaneous decision to go, so I booked the only room that was available and that turned out to be quite good. The experience of staying in a house over 300 years old with so much of  history was quite something!

The food was excellent. They served Bengali food and the menu is fixed. You can choose between veg and non-veg food. The spread was very good. If you want to taste authentic Bengali cuisine this could be the perfect place and setting to experience it.

If you live in Kolkata and don’t know where to go next weekend, try to visit Itachuna, it is quite a nice place. For more details you can visit the website of the Itachuna Rajbari:

Itachuna Rajbari-Hooghly India
Temple in the Rajbari

Beautiful old lamp in the courtyard of the Rajbari
Inside Itachuna Rajbari

Ground floor of the Rajbari
The room that we stayed in

Interiors in the Rajbari
One of the many corridors

A beautiful old tapestry
A huge chess board at the Rajbari

An incomplete old Shiva temple outside the Rajbari
Areas around the Rajbari

Dining room Itachuna
Bengali vegetarian Food

Playing the flute
Itachuna Rajbari from the terrace