India is a land of varied landscapes from its rugged mountains in the north to its pristine beaches in the south, from its historic architectural marvels to its rich cultural heritage, from its mouth-watering cuisines to its grand festivities across 29 states. India is just not a country but an amalgamation of beauty, love, and richness in its own form.

We are going to be taking you through several bucket list destinations which you should definitely keep in your itinerary when planning to travel around India.

Ladakh – The Land of High Passes

Ladakh – Land of High Passes

Ladakh tops the bucket-list destinations within India and no doubt it absolutely deserves that place due to its captivating landscapes, rugged mountains, colorful prayer flags, calming monasteries, yummy Ladakhi cuisine, vast sand dunes, bacterian camels, sparkling lakes, and last but not the least the humble locals. The best time to visit Ladakh begins from June until mid-October.

For detailed info on how to plan a trip to Ladakh, do visit our blog

Rann of Kutch, Gujarat

We visited Rann of Kutch just before the lockdown started in the first week of March 2020 and were lucky to witness the beautiful vistas of this region. From the sparkling crystal salt marshlands to the luminous full moon experience to the glorious sunrise, each experience was unique and memorable.

Rann of Kutch

So here we are listing few experiences which are definitely a must-do when you’re in Kutch :
1. Witness the desert on the full moon day to see it shine in its magnificent grandeur.
2. Don’t miss capturing the glorious sunrise at the Rann.
3. Visit Kala Dongar, also known as Black Hill, the highest point in the Kutch region offering a stunning panoramic view. We suggest visiting during sunset and you can also spot the India Bridge which is the last point before the India- Pakistan border.
4. Skip the luxurious tent accommodation and stay in a traditional bhunga to experience the simplicity and culture of local living. We recommend Happy homestay if your planning to stay in the Gorewali area.
5. Spend quality time with the locals and get to know their culture. You can also request to dress up in their traditional outfits if you want.

Pangong Lake, Ladakh

Pangong Lake

A visit to Ladakh is incomplete if you don’t witness this sparkling majestic blue Pangong Lake situated at a height of about 4350 metres (14270 ft). This lake is about 134 km long and extends from India to China wherein approximately 60% of it lies in China. A unique feature of this lake is that it doesn’t remain blue throughout the day and it keeps on changing colors from azure to light blue to green and grey too!!!

Things to do in Pangong Tso :
Do nothing and just absorb the splendid views sitting by this magnificent lake.

Travel Tip: Try to stay at least one night at Pangong to give your body some rest after the long ride. We stayed at Martsemik La Camps when we visited Pangong which thankfully had hot water which was a challenge across this region due to the scarce availability of water here.

Manali, Himachal Pradesh

Old Manali – hippie charm of Himachal Pradesh

Manali is a small hippie town in Himachal Pradesh situated along the mighty white Beas River surrounded by lush pine trees and apple orchards.
We visited this place in 2018 and we would definitely recommend everyone visiting here especially Old Manali.

Things to do when you’re in Manali:
1. Jogini Falls: This waterfall is located around 3 km from Manali. This waterfall runs down to join the river Beas. It is sacred to the village Goddess Jogini which the locals believe to be a great place of female power.
2. Vashist Hot Water Springs: These hot water springs are a major source of fresh water in and around Manali. This spring is believed to have healing powers due to its mythical origin.
3. Solang Valley: Situated around 13 km from Manali, this place is famous for the adventurous. You can try out paragliding, zorbing, zip-lining during summers while skiing during winters.
4. Hadimba Temple: This temple is an ancient cave temple dedicated to Hidimbi Devi, wife of Bhima, a mythological figure in the Indian epic, Mahabharata.
5. Mall Road: This is the main street in Manali where you can find everything from shopping to hospitals to schools to banks to the police station, etc. One can shop for a variety of woolen clothes or pick up souvenirs for back home.

Travel tip: When you visit Manali, try to book your accommodation in the Old Manali area to experience the laid-back hippie charm and also try the pan-fried trout fish.
P. S. You can head to our detailed blog on Manali in case your planning for the future. 

Meghalaya ‑ An Abode of Clouds

Meghalaya – An abode of clouds

Referred to as the Scotland of the East, it is one out of the seven northeastern states in India. This abode of clouds has something to offer for everyone. From its dancing clouds to its gushing waterfalls, from its adventurous caves to its bamboo trails, from its captivating living root bridges to its grand canyons, pristine lakes, crystal clear river beds, innumerous ancient trails, and mysterious folk tales.
That’s not all guys, there is much more to this magical land, it’s winding roads, pleasant weather all day long, bustling bazaars, upbeat fashion culture, yummy local cuisines, friendly doggies and cats, tribal communities of Khasi, Garo, and Jaintia, and last but not the least the warmest, humble, loving and friendly locals.

Things we definitely recommend doing when in Meghalaya :
1. Trek the Double Decker Living Root Bridge at Nongriat, Cherrapunjee
2. Visit Krangsuri waterfalls in Jaintia Hills
3. Nohkalikai and Wei Saw dong and Seven sisters waterfalls in Cherrapunjee
4. Boating experience in Unmgot River, Dawki
5. Camping adventure at Darrang
6. Cafe hopping in Shillong
7. Shopping at Police Bazaar, Shillong
8. Visit the cleanest village, Mawlynnong in Asia
9. Catch the sunset at Umiam Lake, Shillong
10. Experience homestay with the locals

Dal Lake, Jewel of Srinagar, Kashmir

Dal Lake – Jewel of Srinagar, Kashmir

We traveled to Srinagar situated in Jammu and Kashmir state of India in August 2018. This city houses the most enchanting Dal lake referred to as the Jewel of Srinagar. There are wooden Kashmiri houseboats along with beautifully decorated shikaras (gondolas) along the lines of Dal Lake. One must definitely experience the houseboat stay when your here. The best time to visit here is between May to September if you are interested in catching the pretty flower blooms.

Few of our favorite things which we loved doing in Srinagar during our one day stay :
1. Staying in a wooden Kashmiri houseboat and experiencing everyday life here.
2. Watching the spectacular sunset by the Dal Lake and the snowcapped Pir Panjal mountains.
3. You cannot miss the Shikara ride when in Srinagar for sure. It costs you a mere 200 rs for the ride
4. Don’t forget to try the refreshing Kawah tea
5. Stroll the market streets of Srinagar city and bring back home cutesy wooden houseboat curios.
6. Try the relishing chicken gustaba and you will thank us later.
7. Catch the blissful early morning sunrise.

Udaipur ‑ City of Lakes

Udaipur – City of Lakes

Udaipur knows as the City of Lakes is a must-visit when you are in Rajasthan. We suggest you spend at least 3 days in this captivating city.

We stayed in Udaipur for 3 days and we can definitely recommend the below :
1. Visit the City Palace being the largest royal palace in Rajasthan from the Mewar Era.
2. Take a boat ride in Pichola Lake and witness the serene views of Lake Palace, City Palace, Gangaur Ghat, and Jag Mandir.
3. Spend some time by Gangaur Ghar situated by the waterfront of Lake Pichola and observe the daily local life.
4. Visit Bagore ki Haveli to witness the traditional Rajasthan dance held during the evenings.
5. Watch the captivating sunset from the Sunset Terrace Cafe at Fateh Prakash Palace with the best views of Pichola Lake and the Aravali mountains ranges.
6. If you are a vintage car lover, then don’t miss the Vintage Car museum which houses famous vintage cars like the 1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom used in the Bond film Octopus.
7. Visit the Sajanngarh Palace which is the monsoon place of the Maharana Sajjan Singh. Go there during sunset and you will be welcomed with the best views of Udaipur City.
8. Take the cable ropeway to visit the Karna Mata Mandir
9. Sip your evening tea at Fateh Sagar Lake. You can also do boating here if you wish.
10. If you have time, Visit Sajjan Niwas Garden also called Gulab Bagh for its 100 types of variety of roses.

Rishikesh ‑ The Confluence of Spirituality, Meditation and Adventure.

Rishikesh – Where Adventure meets Spirituality

Located at the foothills of the Himalayas on the banks of the mighty holy river Ganga, Rishikesh also known as Hrishikesh is a small town located in the northern state of Uttarakhand.

We stayed at Rishikesh for 3 nights 4 days and explored this town to our fullest.
So here’s listing down a few of our fav things to do when your in Rishikesh

1. Witness the popular Ganga aarti in the evening at Triveni Ghat.

2. Visit the iconic Ram Jhula and Laxman Jhula however the 90 yrs old Laxman Jhula has been closed for the public since July 2019 for maintenance and safety reasons.

3. Visit the Beatles Ashram and soak in the colorful wall graffitis while learning about this historic ashram.

3. Experience white water river rafting in the mighty Ganges experiencing the crazy water rapids.

4. Taste the thrill of adventure sports by experiencing Bunjee Jumping, flying fox, and Giant swing at Jumping heights.

5. Enroll for a free yoga session at Swarg Ashram or Parmarth Ashram.

6. Try out the lip-smacking street food delicacies in the market area.

7. Visit the oldest restaurant in Rishikesh, Chotiwala for yummy aloo parathas.

8. Go Cafe Hopping. We recommend Karma Cafe, Ganga View Cafe, Little Buddha Cafe, and Roadhouse Bistro. (the last one has non-veg options too ?)

9. Visit the 13 storied Trimbakeshwar Mandir situated by the banks of the Ganga River.

10. Go shopping for clothing, bags, and jewelry at Laxman Jhula Main Market. We recommend Scorpion Handicrafts if you want to get a reasonable bargain.

Travel Tip: This little town is meat-free and alcohol-free so be prepared before you arrive here.

Sancordem – An Offbeat Goa beyond Beaches and Beer

Sancordem – An offbeat Goa

When we speak of Goa, we are immediately transported to visuals of stunning beaches, churches, beer and nightlife however there is so much more to Goa than the above.

Today we will take you through the less popular and offbeat destinations we suggest visiting the next time you think of Goa.

1. Our most fav beach has to be Palolem situated at the southernmost tip of Goa known for its white sand, calm waters, palm trees, colorful wooden shacks, and silent disco nightlife.

2. Explore the jungle experience by staying in traditional mud houses at Nature’s resort in Surla, Sancordem

3. If you love to watch and photograph birds, then go for bird sighting trails at Sancordem and sight various species of local and migratory birds.

4. Visit Tambdi Surla, one of the 12th-century Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva during the Kadamba dynasty. Location: Tambdi Surla Village inside Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary

5. Go for a night open jeep safari at Bhagwan Wildlife Sanctuary and spot various species of birds and animals like gaurs, bison, owl, deers, and if your lucky you can spot a leopard too. Well, we were lucky to spot one which was absolutely a rare sighting as per the locals.

6. Visit the popular four-tiered Dudhsagar waterfalls through the government-organized jeep safari in Mollem.

7. If you are an ardent beach lover and want to avoid crowds, visit Bogmalo, Hollant, Cola, Betalbatim, Agonda, Cavellosim beaches in South Goa. If you’re on the north side, we suggest visiting Arambol, Ashwem, Morjim, and Sinquerim beaches.

8. Visit Fontainhas, the Latin quarter of Panaji, dotted with colorful buildings soaked in Portuguese architecture.

9. One cannot leave Goa without trying sorpotel, vindaloo, coconut fish curry (xacutti), grilled lamb steak, prawns fry, and stuffed crab. A few of our fav restaurants being Martin’s corner at Betalbatim, Infantaria at Calangute, German Bakery at Palolem.

10. No trip to Goa is complete without visiting the immaculate churches of Goa. Our fav being Mae De Deus Church (Saligao), Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception

Namma Bengaluru – Capital City of Karnataka

Namma Bengaluru

The capital city of Karnataka is famous for its pleasant weather, cosmopolitan crowd, varied eateries, quirky cafes, coffee hangouts, and beer brewing spots, and the IT hub of India.
“Namma Bengaluru”

We were in Bangalore for around a week in February and hence sharing with you a few of our recommendations :
1. Nandi Hills situated around 60 km from the city is a must-visit. We suggest visiting there for sunrise and you will love the view from the sunrise viewpoint.
2. Visit the iconic Indo Islamic Tipu Sultan Summer Palace built in 1791 by the then Mysorean ruler Tipu Sultan.
3. Visit the royal Bangalore Palace built in the 1800s reflecting Tudor Gothic-styled architecture adorned with exquisite chandeliers and intricate designs making every corner Instagram worthy for sure.
4. The oldest Botanical Garden spread over 240 acres known as Lalbagh Botanical Garden is definitely worth a visit. We suggest watching the sunset atop the Lalbagh Rock which is completely worthwhile.
5. Ulsoor Lake one of the biggest lakes in Bangalore makes a great spot for sunset viewing and bird watching however it has not been maintained that well by the authorities.
6. Places we loved eating in no particular order: Shivaji Military restaurant for Donne Mutton Biryani, Nagarjuna restaurant for the authentic Andhra thali, Suryavanshi for spicy Kolhapuri fish Thali, Udupi Park for the piping hot vadas, filter coffee and dosas, Hole in the wall cafe for the yummy English breakfast, Truffles for the juicy burgers, MTR for the softest idlis and crispy dosas.
7. Don’t miss out on the street food here. We enjoyed egg pakoda and paddu and don’t forget Naariyal Paani with Malai ?
8. We recommend Gillys redefined and Bob’s Bar at Koramangala for nightlife pub scenes.
9. Try the famous beer brewing hangouts like Windmill Craftworks, Biergarten in the Whitefield area
10. Don’t leave Bangalore without picking up sweets and snacks from Anand and Adyar Anand Bhavan.

Peaceful Pondicherry ‑ Where Time Travels

Pondicherry – Where time Travels

We visited Pondi (also known as Puducherry) for 3 days back in Jan 2018, a quaint little South Indian town still reflecting its French legacy with its mustard-colored colonial villas, pretty boutiques, and cafes.

Few of the things we definitely recommend to do when in Pondicherry :
1. Watch the glorious sunrise at Serenity Beach also called Kottukupam located around 5 km from White Town.
2. Visit the Aurobindo ashram located in the center of White Town for a spiritual experience.
3. Go Cafe hopping. A few of our fav ones are Cafe des arts, 19th century French Cafe, Le Cafe, Le Pondy, La Mansion Rose, and Le Dupleix
4. Take a 30 min ride at Chunnambar lake which takes you to Paradise beach
5. Visit Matrimandir (Temple of the Mother) at Auroville located around 15 km from the main city.
6. Visit the immaculate churches of Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and Church of Our Lady of Angels.
7. Stroll in the bylanes of Pondi depicting a mix of both French rustic and traditional south Indian architecture.
8. Capture a time-lapse of the stunning sunset at Rock Beach, Promenade in White town
9. Try the wood fire pizza at Tanto and Cafe Xtasi
10. Watch the panoramic view of Pondi city from the Lighthouse located at the Promenade.

Mangalore – A blend of beaches, palm trees and religious temples.

Mangalore – A Home away from Home

Mangalore is known for its pristine beaches, age-old churches and temples, captivating mountain peaks, and extensive coffee estates.

Being my (Diana) native town, I have had the opportunity to visit this place numerous times since a kid, and Donald happened to visit Mangalore twice post our marriage.
We have our relatives dispersed across Mangalore and hence this gave us an opportunity to visit various parts of Mangalore.

Sharing a few of our favorite places to visit when in Mangalore :
1. Witness a splendid sunset at the famous Pannumbar beach located around 10 km from the main city. Also famous for its Kite festival, this beach has a lighthouse where you can view the panoramic vistas of Mangalore.
2. Visit the 1600 old Milagres Church (Church of our Lady of Miracles) situated in Hampankatta known for its Portuguese architecture.
3. Take a coffee estate tour in Chikmagular, referred to as the coffee land of Karnataka
4. Drive through the scenic Baba budan Western ghats mountain range and explore the two main peaks which are the Mullayanagiri and Baba Budangiri.
5. Visit the less crowded tranquil Tannirbhavi Beach to catch the golden sunset.
6. For all animal lovers, Pilikula Biological Zoo is the best place to indulge in a wildlife experience.
7. Besides Pilikula Zoo lies the Botanical Garden which exhibits around 15000 different types of plants and flowers on display. You can also experience a boating ride on the Pilikula lake amidst swans and lush greenery.
8. For the city lovers, you can visit the famous City Centre Mall located at K.S Rao road to fulfill all your shopping, food, and entertainment needs.
9. Don’t forget to try yummy GADBAD ice cream from the oldest and famous ice cream parlor Pabba’s located near City Centre Mall.
10. Fish lovers need to visit Gajalee restaurant and try out the fish curry ?

Bhuj : The Restored Ancient Heritage of Gujarat

Bhuj – The Restored Ancient City

The capital city of Kutch in Gujarat state is known for its rich history and culture. It is home to many palaces, lakes, and museums. It is a famous travelers pitstop while visiting faraway areas in the Kutch region. We suggest keeping a minimum of 2 days if you wish to explore Bhuj properly.

Few of our must DOs when you are in Bhuj city :
1. Visit the Italian Gothic Architecture Palace known as Prag Mahal adorned with impressive chandeliers and artifacts from the 19th century.
2. Visit the 18th century Aina Mahal also known as the Palace of Mirrors which was completely destroyed during the 2001 Bhuj earthquake. Parts of it have been restored for public viewing.
3. Catch the stunning sunset at 450-year-old man-made Hamirsar Lake
4. Stroll the busy streets of Bhuj city and try out famous street snacks like khaman, dhokla, jalebi, fafda, etc
5. Savor the traditional Kutch Thali at Umiyaji Dining Hall and Nilam restaurant
6. Relish the famous Vadapav at Shankar Vadapav
7. Visit the Bhuj Museum to immerse yourself in the history of this historic city.
8. Visit the Bhujodi Crafts village and check out the tie-dye, block-printing, and embroidery products from the local artisans. Within the crafts village is the Vande Mataram Memorial which organizes light and sound show every evening depicting the entire journey of Indian Independence in life-like 4-D technology.
9. Visit Mandvi Beach and Vijay Vilas Palace which is located around 60 km from Bhuj
10. Don’t forget to pack snacks and sweets for back home from Khavda sweets.
Visited in March 2020 before the lockdown.

Jaipur ‑ The Pink City

Jaipur – Indeed the Pink City

We visited Jaipur back in 2015 and loved exploring this vibrant pink city.

There is so much to do here and hence sharing some of the things we experienced during our 3 days trip :
1. Visit the magnificent red sandstone and marble Amer Fort built in 1592 declared as a Unesco World Heritage site as part of Hills fort of Rajasthan group.
2. Visit the 18th century Jal Mahal, a red sandstone Palace located in the middle of the Mansagar lake. This five-storied palace has 4 floors underwater and only one floor exposed.
3. Tour the famous City Palace constructed by then Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II giving a fusion of both Mughal and Rajput architecture.
4. If you are a lover of Astronomy, then don’t forget to visit Jantar Mantar, an astronomical observatory that houses a collection of nineteen astronomical instruments.
5. Visit the iconic Hawa Mahal and witness the captivating sunset while chilling at the Tattoo Cafe located opp Hawa Mahal.
6. Indulge in traditional Rajasthan Thali and sweets at Laxmi Mishtan Bhandar
7. Taste the sweetest frothy Lassi at the famous Lassiwala at Johari Bazaar
8. Shop for Jaipuri handlooms like bandhani, chanderi, banarasi, Jaipuri jutis, jewelry, bags, lac, and meenakari bangles, and earrings at Bapu Bazaar and Johari Bazaar
9. Visit Chokhi Dhani village to witness a mix of dance performances, puppet shows, and don’t miss the daal baati churma for sure ?
10. Witness the glorious sunset at Nahargarh or Jaigarh Fort
11. Don’t leave Jaipur without trying Laal maas, the famous delicacy of this state.
12. Catch an early morning gorgeous sunrise at Albert Hall Museum with the company of a hundred pigeons

Bandhavgarh ‑ The land for all wildlife enthusiasts

Bandhavgarh – For all the wildlife enthusiasts

We visited Bandhavgarh National Park just after our marriage in Jan 2013 and everyone was shocked when we mentioned we are going wildlife sighting instead of some romantic getaway which is the usual norm ?
Bandhavgarh, which is located in the Umaria district of Madhya Pradesh is quite famous for its large biodiversity.

Spread over 450 sq. km, this region is divided into 3 core zones: Tala, Maghdi, and Khitauli, and houses around 50 odd tigers, which is the highest density tiger population within India.
Before declaring it as a national park in 1968, this hunting ground belonged, to the royal family of Rewa and was also the site where White Tigers was discovered however none has been spotted since last 50 yrs now. The forests here are quite dense and hence spotting a tiger can be quite difficult. But the entire jungle experience is a complete treat in itself.

The best time to visit is between March and June for greater chances of tiger spotting although you should be willing to bear the scorching summers of 35 to 40 degrees celsius. You can reach here by air, Jabalpur being the closest airport located around 170 km roughly 5 hrs to reach or by rail, Umaria being the closest station around 32 km from here.

Sonamarg : Truly the Meadow of Gold 

Sonamarg – The Meadow of Gold

This pretty hill station located around 80 odd km from the capital city of Srinagar in Kashmir will truly transport you to paradise. The sight of the snowclad mountains, lush green meadows, hiking trails covered with pine, fir, and birch trees, small streams of water flowing across the valley will leave you speechless.

Few of the things we recommend when you’re in Sonamarg :
1. Soak in the beauty of the gushing Sindh River surrounded by mountain ranges everywhere.
2. Visit the might Thajiwas Glacier surrounded by green meadows, streams, and numerous waterfalls. It will take approx 3 hrs to and fro depending on the mode of travel you choose either by walking or pony.
3. Trek for around 35 km or hire ponies to visit the stunning Vishansar Lake (also known as Lake of Vishnu)
4. Catch the panoramic view of snow-clad mountains at Baltal Valley.
5. Experience the thrilling and dangerous ride through the popular ZojiLa mountain pass. Recommend to drive here during the day only.

Mussoorie : Truly Queen of the Hills

Mussoorie – The Queen of Hills

This hill station at an altitude of 7000 feet above sea level, located just 35 km from Dehradun makes for the perfect escape for a weekend getaway.

Some of the things we suggest doing when in Mussoorie :
1. Visit the George Everest House. Tucked up the hill, these historic ruins give you an amazing panoramic view of the hill town.
2. Visit Kempty falls, quite a popular tourist spot. We were there for hardly 10 mins because frankly, we couldn’t stand the crowds.
3. Stroll along the Mall road for souvenirs and shopping.
4. Visit the cutesy cafes along the Mall road
(Cafe by the way and Lovely Omelette center is a must-try)
5. Visit the Gun Hill Viewpoint to see the entire Mussoorie town.
6. Visit Jharipani falls. Difficult to locate but once you get there, totally worth it
7. Stay in a boutique resort to get the best views and also a touch of localism. We definitely suggest @wildflowercottagemussoorie which gives you the best views of Mussoorie.
8. Sit by a Bonfire and enjoy the awesome weather with yummy food, soothing music, and good company at @wildflowercottagemussoorie

We have written a detailed blog about Mussoorie which you can find here

Kanatal ‑ Quaint Little Hamlet of Uttarakhand

Kanatal – Quaint Little Paradise

Kanatal, this quaint little hamlet located at an altitude of 8500 feet above sea level is surrounded by the breathtaking panoramic view of the snow-kissed Himalayan ranges making it the perfect destination for those looking out for both bliss and adventure.

Things to do when in Kanatal :
1. Opt for Camp stay/homestays against a resort stay. We stayed @thekanatalorchids and thoroughly enjoyed the local stay for 2 nights.
2. Have a garma garam chai with hot pakoras and enjoy the stunning Himalayan sunsets.
3.Do nothing but share some amazing moments with your loved ones by just lazing on the grass and soaking in the mystic views during the day and star gazing at night
4. For the adrenaline junkies, you can try out various adventure sports like ziplining, valley crossing, rappelling, sky walking, and bridge crossing.
5. Try out the local drink made from Buransh (rhododendron flowers) and pick up a small bottle for home as a souvenir if you like it.
6. You can go for an easy 3-hour trek to the nearby Surkhanda Devi Temple located at almost 10000 feet where you can get the best sunset or sunrise views.
7. If you are a wildlife enthusiast, you can indulge in a safari visit at the Kodai Jungle where you can spot numerous rare bird species and animals like musk deer, wild boar, and nilgai, and barking deer.
8. Enjoy the Bonfire sessions every evening with pleasant weather, yummy food, soothing music, and the good company of your loved ones.

P. S. If you have Kanatal on your mind post the pandemic, do head to our blog on our website for detailed info

Tadoba – Biggest National Park in Maharashtra

Tadoba – Biggest Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra

Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve definitely holds a special place in our hearts mainly because we sighted Maya the enchanting tigress along with her cubs and it was the very first sighting of our lives. Wildlife experience always remains our favorite part of our travel journeys and we would highly recommend everyone to experience this for sure.

This reserve is the biggest national park in Maharashtra inhabiting around 88 tigers along with other wildlife species. Apart from sighting tigers, we also sighted leopards, bears, deers, sambars, gaurs, langurs, peacocks, monitor lizards, multiple birds, etc. Although this reserve is closed during the rainy season, you can visit this place from October until May end.
You can also visit our detailed Tadoba blog on our website for more deets

Velas, Harihareshwar, Dapoli, and Tarkarli – Untouched Gems of the Konkan Coastline

Stretching around 720 km along the Arabian Sea, Maharashtra has a pretty long coastline also referred to as the Konkan region situated between the Western ghats and the Arabian sea with access to numerous pristine beaches.

Of many of the beaches along the coastline, we are taking you to two such offbeat beach getaways from Mumbai and Pune:

1. Velas

Velas Beach

Velas is a coastal village located in the Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra. It is located around 250 km from Mumbai and around 200 km from Pune. It is noted as the birthplace of Nana Phadnavis who was an influential statesman of the Martha Empire during the 1700 to 1800 era. This village has gained prominence in the last 10 years due its Olive Ridley Turtle Hatching Conservation run by Sahyadri Nisarg Mitra Chiploon (SNMC) and the locals.

We must admit it is a spotless and pristine beach made up of golden black sand and mostly not flooded with tourists. One can definitely relax at the beach and watch the waves crashing the shore but it is not advised to swim in these choppy waters.

When you visit Velas for the Turtle Festival, you can also visit the below nearby places if you have some time in hand :

  • Bankot Fort: Also referred to as Himmatwala or Victoria fort is located around 5 km from Velas Beach.
  • Harihareshwar Beach & Temple: One can take the boat from Veshvi Port to Baghnandla Port and visit the nearby Harihareshwar Beach and temple
  • Shrivardhan Beach: One can also visit this 3 km long calm and clean beach located around 20 km from Harihareshwar Beach

You can check our detailed blog on Velas Turtle Festival here

2. Harihareshwar:


Surrounded by hills, this beach is located around 200 km from Mumbai, roughly around 6 hrs by road if you include one or 2 stops in between. Besides being a popular tourist spot, it is known as a temple town as the name itself means Dev-Ghar or “house of God”. You can also visit the beaches of Diveaghar and Srivardhan when you are visiting Harihareshwar.

3. Dapoli

Dapoli – Beautiful Konkan coastline belt

Dapoli is a coastal city in the Konkan region of Maharashtra. Situated around 240 km from Mumbai and around 183 km from Pune, this coastal hill station definitely makes for a beachy getaway. It is also known as Camp Dapoli as the erstwhile Britishers set their military camps during the British India Raj.
Lined up with numerous pristine beaches, this city makes for a popular beach destination. But there is more to this region, apart from its stunning panoramic beaches, one can visit its historic temples, caves, hot water springs, and forts scattered around the city. Located at an altitude of 800 feet, it is often referred to as “Mini Mahabaleshwar” due to its all-year-round cool weather. We suggest spending at least 3 days here to explore all the places around Dapoli.

We suggest visiting the below if you are in Dapoli for around 3 days:

  • Ladghar Beach (You can go for Dolphin Sighting here)
  • Harnai Lighthouse View Point
  • Anjanavel Lighthouse Viewpoint
  • Guhaghar Beach (Whitesand Beach)
  • Anjarle Beach
  • Harnai Fishing Port
  • Palande Beach
  • Suvarnadurga Fort

4. Tarkarli:

Tarkarli – The hidden gem of Konkan

Our encounter with this pristine beach happened in 2011 when it was untouched and less commercialized. We were lucky to have this beauty all by ourselves. Known for its white sands and clear waters, this beach is located around 546 km from Mumbai and around 400 km from Pune. You can reach this place via road as well as by train. The nearest station is Kudal after which you will have to take a sharing rickshaw to reach Tarkarli which is around 32 km roughly around an hour. The best part about this place is it offers multiple homestays which gives a local touch experience.

We recommend the below when you are in Tarkarli :
1. Catch a sunset at Tarkarli Beach
2. Try out water sports like kayaking, banana boat ride, etc at Karli river
3. Indulge in traditional Malvani fish Thali with yummy sol kadi ?
4. Experience Scuba Diving near Tsunami Island
5. Visit the Sindhudurg fort at Malvan
6. Visit the Devbagh sangham point where the Karli river meets the Arabian sea
7. For the spiritual ones, they can enjoy sightseeing around temples like Mahapurush, Witthal, and Kunkeshwar.
8. Go for Dolphin spotting at Nivati Beach
9. Visit the nearby beaches of Devbagh and Vengurla
10. Stay in a homestay to experience the local way. We definitely recommend Riddhi Vinayak Tarkarli homestay

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