Day 103/ 365 – Cola Beach, Goa

On the last day of our trip we decided to visit Cola Beach which is situated 8-10 kms north of the Agonda Beach. The beach is kind of secluded and you have to ride/ drive on dusty roads to reach there. The best part about the beach is that you have a fresh water lagoon on one side and a sea on the other side – both of them separated by the beach. I originally thought that the lagoon was sea water – however, on tasting the water realized that it is indeed fresh water. The entire scenery around the beach is absolutely stunning and reminded me of the back waters in Kerala.

Cola Beach Lagoon
Cola Beach Lagoon
Cola Beach Lagoon
Cola Beach Lagoon – with beach huts
Panorama shot
Panorama shot


Day 102/ 365 – Agonda Beach, Goa

A couple of weekends ago, me and wifey decided to visit Goa for the long weekend. We had been planning to go to Goa for a long time and the long weekend provided a perfect opportunity. Initially, we planned to go along with another couple friend of ours, however things didn’t work out and we decided to carry on with the trip alone. Booking tickets to Goa at the last minute is usually not advisable, but since we didn’t plan the trip couple of months in advance, we were left with no option to book the tickets in Tatkal quota and tatkal tickets are a little costlier as compared to the regular tickets and they can only be booked one day in advance of the journey. The IRCTC website took forever to book the tickets and at one point I wasn’t even sure that we were going. However, everything worked out well and we got confirmed tickets. The stay was not a problem as it wasn’t exactly peak season in Goa and accommodation was easily available.

Agonda Beach is approximately 32 kms away from Madgaon station. We hired a bike from Madgaon station (Pulsar -consumed a lot of fuel) and started our drive further south towards Agonda. The ride to Agonda beach through the highway is simply awesome. The single lane highway is very beautiful and driving on the slopes is good fun. Sad that the bike which we hired didnt have enough power. I would loved to ride my Bullet there. It took us about an hour to reach Agonda Beach. We had visited Agonda Beach earlier in 2011 along with my friend R and his wife B. R’s friend owns beach shack at the Agonda Beach (Hangout at Agonda) and we decided to visit the place. Since then, we (me and wife) have fallen in love with that place. Normally a lot of people prefer to go to North Goa, however, we prefer going to the South and relaxing at this beach. The best part about this beach is that it is not crowded. There are not many commercial activities which take place on the beach and hence resulting in fewer footfalls. Even this time we didnt see a lot of people as compared to some of the other beaches in Goa, however, we felt the number of people increasing this beach had increased as compared to our previous visit. The weather during the day time was humid, but the evenings were pleasant. The best part about the trip was that we were able to relax completely. Some vacations you just need to chill and not do anything – this was one of those vacations. We decided to not go anywhere – just explore locally and enjoy. In the morning, we would go to the beach, enjoy the cool waters, head back have a couple of drinks, have lunch and then again in the evening walk on the beach, come back, have a few drinks and have dinner. Sometimes doing nothing can also be fun. The entire weekend was spent doing this and it was one of the most relaxing and rejuvenating vacations I have had in sometime.

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Day 89/ 365 – Visit to Kala Ghoda Arts Festival

Last weekend, me and wife, visited the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival. The Kala Ghoda festival takes place once a year during Feb 1st week and is considered to be one of the premier art festivals in India. The sub-festivals feature the visual arts, dance, music, theatre, cinema, literature, lectures, seminars and workshops, heritage walks, special events for children, and a vibrant street festival. While my wife has been visiting this festival since quite a few years, I have only started attending since last couple of years. The festival lasts for 10 days and every time we plan to attend the festival early but end up attending only on the last or second last day when the crowd is at its peak. This year also it was no different. We attended on the second last day and being Saturday, the place was full of people. My purpose of attending the festival was to take pictures of the arts installation which are put up. I did manage to take a few pictures but considering the number of people who were attending, it was really difficult to get clean pictures. Also this year, I found the number of installations to be less as compared to the previous years. However, the number of stalls selling “art” stuff had increased. There were a lot of stalls who were selling clothes, shoes, accessories, and home decor making me wonder if it was really an arts festival or some shopping festival. Normally we spend considerable time going through the descriptions of the installations and visiting the different stalls. However, this year looking at the number of people, we kept our visit to just 4 hours. The overall experience wasn’t that great for me because of the sheer number of people. Being from Mumbai, I am used to crowds but this was just way too much for me. Probably next year, we will visit the festival early enough or probably on a weekday to enjoy to the fullest.

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Bubble boy
Bubble boy
Artist rendition of Super Cat
Artist rendition of Super Cat

Day 87/ 365 – Railway Lantern

My wife took a picture of this lantern at Valsad Railway station. This lantern reminded me of some of the movies of the old era where the train guards would use the lantern to signal the engine driver up front. I guess with the advent of powerful torches, these lanterns are now of no use and thus lying waste.

Lantern used on trains

Day 83/ 365 – First experience with L series lens

As mentioned in one of my earlier posts, I recently went to Bhigwan to do some bird photography. I currently own 55-250mm lens, but for the trip it was not going to be good enough. So I decided to hire a zoom lens from Primes and Zooms in Pune. I knew I wanted a minimum 400mm lens and decided to rent 100mm – 400mm L series lens. This was my first time using the lens. The good thing about renting from Primes and Zooms is that they allow to pick up the lens an evening in advance. Since the trip was on Sunday, I picked up the lens on Saturday evening and decided to test it out. I wanted to get comfortable using the lens before taking it to Bhigwan. I took the lens and went to the park in Magarpatta city and decided to shoot some pictures. Initially I was not able to focus properly as I was not used this such a heavy lens. Also at 400 mm the pics were appearing shaking. Thats when I realized that due to involuntary movement, the pictures were a little blurry. So I decided to tighten my shoulders a little bit so the lens has better support and that solved the problem of blurry images. The only problem which I faced after taking pictures continuously for an hour or so, was my left wrist which I used to hold the lens started paining. Otherwise, everything was perfectly fine. The only thing that I missed out was – I should have read the features of the lens before renting it out as I would have been able to utilize it optimally. I am definitely going to that next time. Sharing some pictures which I took with this lens before taking it to Bhigwan.

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Day 71/ 365 – Bird photography at Bhigwan

Last weekend I had an opportunity to do some bird photography at Bhigwan. This is place approx. 100 kms from Pune on Pune – Solapur highway. My friend Sid has visited this place a couple of times and always had good things to say about the number of birds that one can see over there. We had planned for this trip since December and this allowed me enough time to seek the right lens for the trip. I have a Canon 55mm – 250mm telephoto zoom lens and obviously for this trip it was going to be inadequate. Hence I decided to rent a camera lens. After checking at 2-3 places, I found Primes and Zooms who rent lens and other camera equipment in Pune. I registered myself online, submitted my verification documents and booked a Canon 100mm – 400mm L series lens for the trip. The people at Primes and Zooms were very professional and there were absolutely no hiccups in the entire process.

I along with my friends Sid, Rahul & Bhavana started early on Sunday morning to reach Bhigwan. The drive on the highway was good, except for some stretches where the road work is still going on. We reached Bhigwan around 8am. South of Bhigwan town, exists a widespread backwater formed due to a man made dam built on the Bhima river. The dam is called as Ujni dam. The backwaters is spread over a wide region and is mainly a shallow waste water reserve. The birding place is called Diksal and is approx. 2-3 kms away from Bhigwan. Once we reached the backwaters, we hired a boat and began our bird watching experience. Birds seen during the trip

  1. Greater Flamingos
  2. Sea Gulls
  3. Grey Egret
  4. Great Egret
  5. Indian Pond Heron
  6. Kingfisher
  7. Bee Eater
  8. Sandpiper
  9. Black Headed Ibis
  10. Black Ibis
  11. Black Drongo
  12. Rudy Shellduck (not captured)
  13. Painted Stork
  14. Indian Cormorant

PS: I may have got some names wrong. Please help me to correct them. Thanks!!

Day 68/ 365 – Plucking flowers at Sindhudurg fort

We, me and my wife, saw this flower while walking through the Sindhudurg fort. The flower was just out of our reach (even after we jumped to grab it). The flower was on a low hanging branch of a tree which was standing in the front yard of someone’s house. I wasn’t sure how we could get to that, so at first I decided to jump and see if I can reach it. Unfortunately, it was a bit higher and I was not able to reach it. My wife was so floored by the beauty that she wanted to have it at any cost. So she decided to climb on the yard wall and pulled down the branch for me to pick up the flowers. While the passer by’s gave us some weird and strange looks, the smile on my wife’s face after getting the flower was priceless.

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