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Cattle Egret at Andheri Fish Market

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Today I was at Andheri Fish Market near Andheri Railway station in the west,  buying fish when I noticed this bird.

I couldn't stop myself from clicking their snaps with the fisherwomen around trying to figure why.

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One of them told me that they have been around for the last 15 odd years or longer,  but I was the first to photograph.

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The birds make a quick move on the fish,  when the fisherwomen ain't watching.

Jaora, Train to Jaora

The next day as decided I met Mohsin and his family at Bandra Terminus, as the train to Udaipur was to depart from there. The train was scheduled to leave at 11:30 PM. Bandra is the start point of this train and top it the train left on time, so we were hoping to reach Joara at 9:30 AM. Udaipur Express travels to Udaipur. Jaora is a stop on the way. To read about Introduction to Jaora

Mohsin had booked tickets for us in the sleeper class. We were 11 in all. Cost per head was Rs. 380. Not sure about the children, we had two of them with us. One being two years old, so I don’t think she requires one, and the other, surely half ticket.  

There were more people who were supposed to travel with us, but they postponed their plans at the last moment. The tickets were booked over two compartments as the number of people travelling was big. By mistake he cancelled the wrong tickets and again we were divided into two compartments.

Bandra- Udaipur Express

The train is not very clean. A couple of cockroaches welcomed me on board. Roaches in all shapes and sizes. I was scared that they don’t enter my bag or my pockets while I was sleeping. The railways should work towards keeping the train clean and we should do our bit by not dirtying the train with food articles and paper.

Mohsin, Satish and I took the seats in the other compartment. Mohsin is a big fan of trains. He can look at an engine and tell you all facts about it. Amazing na.

Mohsin did bring along with him, some beef seekh pav, i.e. beef seekh served in brown bread. Start of the journey with Beef, I am sure that the journey will end with beef. The beef seekh pav was amazing.

We decided that when we are back in Mumbai we would do a couple of sessions of rail fanning. The term Rail Fanning was new to me. Rail Fanning simply means to take photos or videos of running trains. There is big community of Rail Fanners on the internet and Mohsin adds to that list. Filming trains did excite me.
The compartment we were in.

We even decided to stay awake the entire night so that we could see the train change engines at Vadodara station at around 5 AM. The electric engine changes to diesel engine. To keep us awake we had bought ourselves a couple of Red Bulls.

As the train gained speed, it grew chilly and so we decided to call it a night and went off to sleep. We did keep our alarms at 4:45 AM so that we are awake when the train switches engines.
Our alarms rang and rang but we were so fast asleep that we could hardly hear it ring.

Finally when we woke up at 6 AM, the train had left Ratlam station long behind. The weather was chilly when we left Mumbai; it grew chillier when we crossed Ratlam, wondering what it will be like when we reach Jaora.  
Scenic view on the way to Jaora

When we left Bandra the train was packed but the next morning the train was 3/4 empty. I guess most of the passengers alighted while we were sleeping. Now we had the train coaches to ourselves, pick the seat of your choice and enjoy the scenic view outside.

It was foggy outside, when suddenly Mohsin shouted, "Peacock"   
Though I was sleepy, I jumped up asking where. This is the first time I saw peacock, face to face. What a sight. Sadly I couldn’t photograph it as by the time I could take out my camera we had moved on.  

This was totally unexpected. I didn’t in my wildest dreams, dream of seeing a peacock near the tracks.

Frankly speaking, I too used to see peacock's on a regular basis when I was studying in St. Xavier’s College and used to travel by train from Andheri to Marine Lines. Matter of fact, is that the ones I saw were not peacocks but humans shittin next to the tracks. A good friend of mine, Neel had coined this name for them. And it stuck on. Every day when we commute to work we see them by the sides of the track. To which Mohsin burst out laughing.
Photo from the Train

As the train turned along the curved tracks, I did notice the Diesel engine emitting smoke out. I took some amazing photos of the train. The scenery outside was also wonderful. Lush green fields all around with hills in a distance. I could see houses too in a distance. It gave me the feeling that I was in  a village, and I am loving it.

The train reached Jaora at 9:30 AM. The train haults here for just two to three minutes, and in that short time we had to get ourselves and our baggage out of the train. Though it sounded difficult it wasn’t that difficult.

We then boarded a Tum Tum to Hussain Tekri


Friday, May 30, 2014

Ali and I again decided to have some Mughlai food.

We set off directly from office to Mohd. Ali Rd. We decided to alight at Grant Road and walk to Mohd. Ali Rd. Now the journey was long but that didn't dampen our spirits as we were going to be treated with plenty of food.

We walked and walked and finally reached Kings Shawarma.  The chicken on the stack looked appetizing. 

We placed out orders for two chicken shawarma. In a matter of minutes the shawarma were in our hands.

The guy heated a circular pita bread, he then slicked off the chicken from the stack which fell on the bread. He then added to it a mix of cabbage, cheese, onions, tartar suace and tabasco sause. 

He then put in in the pita bread wrapped in pink tissue paper and handed it over to us.

First take , the chicken was nicely cooked, the quantity was also good. Everything was mied well. The mix was just right for my taste buds. 

All this for Rs. 50 each. Value for money. This is the best Shawarma I have had in ages. 


Thursday, May 29, 2014

I had gone to visit one of my good friend. This is the view of the staircase leading to the top. Six storeys. The image  had a 3D effect to it, it didnt stop me from capturing it on my phone. Motorola Defy. 

Apple and Watermelon Sharbat on the streets of Mumbai

After hving our shawarma we decided to goup it don with juices instead of aerated drinks for a change. 

A few step away we noticed this guy with his cart selling sharbat. We immediately ordered ourselves three half glasses of sharbat.

The sharbat was made of apple pulp and had watermelon pieces floating in it. I was wondering how the color was yellow, maybe it was the effect of the street light around us. The combo was amazing and quite refreshing also. The price just Rs. 6 each. 

We left the stall refreshed with the cool sharbat.

Jaora, Introduction to Jaora

Introduction to Jaora:

I was first introduced to Hussain Tekri by my colleague Mohsin Shaikh in our training sessions. He told me about his paranormal encounters at this place. As a traveler this place excited me.  I wanted to witness paranormal activities hence I decided to accompany him on this trip.  As a matter of fact, I don’t watch horror movies as they scare the shit out of me, but when you have company you need not worry. Be it company of the human kind or the spirit kind.  

Hussain Tekri as defined  by my office colleague and good friend Mohsin is a place frequently visited by Muslims from all over the country and the world, to get rid of evil possession. It did sound a bit scary earlier when he described the place to me. He told me about people chained so that they do not create harm to themselves and to others. I know it is a sad sight to see. 

I was in two minds whether I should visit this place or not. As one part of me wanted to see this place and the other was shit scared because of the paranormal activities. Another reason that boosted me to visit this place is the meat it had to offer. Beef. I am a big fan of it. When I was told about the beef dishes prepared here, I couldn’t stop myself from visiting this place.

I had to convince my folk’s in order to visit this place. So when I, initially told them about this place. My Mom said a BIG NO. I still wanted to see this place. I somehow managed to convince my Mom about it. Finally she agreed. 

I informed Mohsin about it, as he had to book tickets in advance. It was not just the two of us but his entire family. 

We managed to get both the tickets and our holidays confirmed to visit this place.

Just before our trip, my office colleagues advised me on the Do's and Don’ts to be done in a village. They were under the impression that this is my maiden trip to a village. They were not aware that I had been to villages before and that I have a blog that caters to places to visit in India.

I should have promoted my blog in office is the lesson I have learnt.

A day before my trip my Mom asked me, "You sure you going, or have you changed your mind?" to which I replied, "Mom, don't worry, nothing will go wrong. I have Mohsin and his family around me." 

She smiled and said, "Go, travel safely and do call every day."

To read about Jaora, Train to Jaora

Lunch at New Sernyaa at Malad in Mumbai

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Navin, Rohini and I decided to have lunch at New Sernyaa at Malad.

We met at the decided time 1 pm at Sernyaa.

I have been to their Oshiwara outlet a couple of times and a big fan of a tibetan food. 

We ordered vegetarian food for a change. 

We ordered Bamboo Rice. The rice came with a dark colored gravy. As soon as the rice arrived at our table, the steam and the aroma of the gravy got into my nose. I was surely going to like it. It turned out just the way I thought it would.

Is it possible that I am at Sernyaa and I have not had pork Momos. I innediately placed my order for the same and in a matter of a few minutes they were served. The steamed pork momos are my favourite and I love to eat them with the three sauces that are placed on each table.


We then placed order for Seernyaa Pan Fried Noodles, now this comes with a little gravy on it. I just love the way the noodles were presented to us. The noodles were a combination of fried and boiled noodles which was mixed in a gravy of herbs. It wa nicely cooked and tasty to eat.

Finally we closed with some sweet dish. Navin ordered the Blueberry Cheese Cake. Though it costs Rs. 150. Price wise it is a bit expensive just for a slice of cake. The presentation was just wonderful and I loved it, I was full to the core so I skipped the taste. Maybe next time.

With a bill of Rs. 960 for the trio, I guess the price was just right. 

Starfish at Mangalore beach

Here are some amazing photos clicked by Avinash of starfish at a beach in mangalore

Sunheri Mahal on the outskirts of Aurangabad City

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

As I was standing next to the Aurangabad Caves I got a beautiful view of the city below. The view is simply amazing. Barren lands and houses in Aurangabad city sandwitched between the hills ranges.

I got a beautiful view of Bibi Ka Maqbara and Sunheri Mahal from here. Though these places were far away they looked so big even from a distance. Just makes me imagine how gigantic it will be when I am close to it.

Sunheri Mahal as the name states was shining in the sun. It was painted yellow in color and shone in the sun. I could see it from atop Aurangabad Caves. It had a garden like thing before its building. Like a “aangan” in Marathi.
Sunheri Mahal from Aurangabad Caves
From a distance it was appearing that huge; imagine how big it will be when I am in its premises.

Within 15 minutes by rickshaw we were at the entrance of Sunheri Mahal.

There was on old structure standing there, which stood as the entrance to Sunheri Mahal. It’s a good thing that it is being redone. I am happy to see that we are taking care of your history.

As you enter it, you will see a small narrow rectangular water fountain which had identical flora growing next to it and in front of us stood Sunheri Mahal.

The yellow painted structure stands out in the mud colored hills behind it.
Sunheri Mahal
Sunheri Mahal is a golden palace situated in the outskirts of Aurangabad city at Paharsinghpura. It is inside the campus of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University.

The Palace was built by a Bundelkhand Chief who had accompanied Aurangzeb to the Deccan.

Sunheri Mahal was built between 1651 and 1653 at a cost of Rs.50,000 and in 1934 it was sold to the Nizam of Hyderabad for Rs.26,400.

The entrance of the Palace is decorated with beautifully done arches.

The Palace is now a Museum. It was set up in 1979 and displays sculptures, paintings, ornaments, pottery and weapons. The museum is open from 1030 hours to 1700 hours each day except for Monday.
Aurangabad Caves from Sunheri Mahal
No photography is allowed in the premises of the museum. As I entered the museum I saw black colored cannons standing there with cannon balls next to it.

The walls were adorned with beautiful paintings made on wood and glass. Never seenpaintings like this before but they were truly good. There were sculptures in Stone, Bronze and Brass of Hindu Gods kept for display in the premises. These were beautifully carved out.

Swords, Cannons, Guns and GunCannon were kept for display. Out of which what caught my attention is GunCannon. It had the trigger of a gun and had a long funnel and I guess miniature cannon balls need to be loaded in it to fire.

The Darbar gallery was beautifully painted. It is said that the interiors of this place were once painted Gold. But due to repair work done on this it is now repainted. But some parts of the previous paintings can still be seen.

Musical instruments used then are also up for display. Now with the coming of DJ music who plays these instruments. I guess they are played only if some performance is given.

Beautifully designed and decorated treasure chests are on display all over the place.

A throne for Ganpati made of wood and polished dark brown is also on display within the Palace premises.

The museum is on the ground floor and the office is on the first floor.

It’s good that they have now started maintaining the premises. After all a 400 year old Palace has survived that long and should be worked on to survive for centuries to come.

I enjoyed my visit here in the history museum.

Falooda on the streets of Mumbai

Monday, May 26, 2014

Ali and I were walking down the streets of Nagpada when we came across this seller, selling falooda.

There was a big crowd there, soon we were a part of the crowd.

We ordered and in a matter of two minutes falooda was served.
Falooda was served in a conical glass, it contained rose syrup, condensed milk, ice cream, vermicelli, dry fruit.

"Mix karo" said the vendor.

We mixed it and in a matter of two minutes it was in our stomach.
This is one of the best falooda's I have had since ages.

It was just amazing to see a simple vendor selling such amazing Falooda at such a amazing price. Damages being Rs. 40 for two. 

Aurangabad Caves in Aurangabad

Sunday, May 25, 2014

We got ourselves a rickshaw to visit Aurangabad Caves and Sunheri Mahal; both are located on the outskirts of the city.

Aurangabad Caves Eastern side from a distance
The rickshaw cost was included on our package tour including the Darwazas of Aurangabad.
Sculptures in the Caves
We headed to see the Caves first. In a matter of minutes we were out of the city premises and on to the hills, we were climbing up and down hills to reach the caves.
The land around the caves was barren; we could hardly see any greenery around. The heat was getting unbearable here but that didn’t dampen our spirits and we continued on our quest.
Eastern side of the Caves
Aurangabad Caves are divided into two halves. The Eastern and Western side.  Caves 1 to 5 are on the Western side and the others on the Eastern side.  These caves were cut between the 6th and 8th century in the Siyachal ranges.
Cavings inside the cave premises
I am not sure which side we landed first but we headed to get ourselves a ticket. There was no one at the ticket counter. It was locked. But there was no gate to see the Caves.  The price of ticket was Rs.5.
Sleeping Buddha
There are few caves here in comparison to Ajanta and Ellora  Caves. The caves are almost identical to Ajanta and Ellora Caves so I am of the understanding that they might have been built in the same era.
More carvings
Again these caves appeared to me as if they are being maintained. I won’t be surprised if the Japanese are looking after its wellbeing.  Like Ajanta Caves.

They have nicely constructed steps to view each of the caves, nets are put up all over the caves so that Bats don’t make them their homes and the caves are nice and clean.
Again these caves have beautifully carved pillars and mythological figures carved on the walls as Ajanta Caves.  The carvings were repetitive.

Though the heat was killing us when we were approaching the caves, the weather here was quite pleasant. God alone knows how. As we are on the hilltop.
Western side of Aurangabad Caves
As we were exiting we saw the ticket counter open and we got ourselves tickets. The person vending tickets also told us that the ticket is the same for all the caves.  So we kept the tickets safely.
Not a soul other than Namrata and Me here.
Sculptures carved in the rock
We then boarded the rickshaw and went over to the other side to see the other part of the caves.

A series of constructed steps leads to the top. These steps were constructed by the ASI as they are looking after the wellbeing of the Caves.
There was no one here to check the tickets. Lol.

Climbing up the stairs can put pressure up on your knees so climb slowly.  As we were climbing a few people noticed peacocks atop the hill, sadly we didn’t notice them.
Doors to the Caves

Finally we reached the top. Again the walls were beautifully carved with mythological figures and so were the pillars. Each of the caves had a sculpture of Buddha in them. I also noticed that some of the caves had been painted in beige color which had started to peel off. 
More Caves
Not sure why they were painted. Most were the way there were meant to be.
Carvings on the walls of the Caves
The Caves offers a wonderful view of Bibi ka Maqbara and Sunheri Mahal in a distance and also the city of Aurangabad.

Next pitstop Sunheri Mahal.

Doors (Darwaza) to Aurangabad

Friday, May 23, 2014

When I entered the city of Aurangabad I was greeted by some structures. The road goes through them.
Door on the way to Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga Temple
 It made me wonder as to what it is as it had no walls at the side or anything historical inside. I knew they were Doors (Darwazas) to city as per the knowledge I had as I visit forts quite often.
Another Door on the outskirts of Auranzeb Tomb
Broken Darwaza btw broken is not its name, again name is not known
When I inquired at the hotel reception, I was told that there are 52 such Doors aka Gates all over Aurangabad. Though most of them have collapsed. Some do stand tall as these are being worked apon.
As we travelled around the city, I noticed walls over the place some had a Door connected to them, others didn’t.
Door on the outskirts of Auranzeb Tomb
I asked the Rickshaw driver about the same. To which he replied that he would show me the twelve gates that still stand and the museums and Aurangabad Caves. So I started negotiating on the price, though I could lower the price by just Rs.100, it cost me Rs.500 and no waiting charge.
Mohamad Darwaza near Panchakki
He told me that initially there were around 52 Doors in Aurangabad. These were connected to walls and an entire village used to reside in it. But today just 12 Doors are impact in the City. Most of them have fallen due to non maintenance. The same goes for the walls, I saw shops being built in its place.
Darwaza on the way to Bibi ka Maqbara
But he managed to show me the walls wherever he could.

Barapulla Darwaza
We saw , Delhi Darwaza, Kala Darwaza, Roshan Gate, Kutkut Gate, Zafar Gate, Paithan Gate, Baramulla Darwaza, Muhamad Darwaza, Bhadkal Gate, Ismail Darwaza, Noor Masjid Gate, Rangeen Darwaza and Khaas Gate.
Mehmud Darwaza
Rangeen Darwaza
There is nothing special about Khaas Gate, as only one half of the Door stands which is now used as a garbage dump. There are no walls as these were broken down long ago by people to erect their shops on it.
Badkal Gate
Dilli Darwaza
The other gates are mostly named and some maintenance work is being carried out so that it doesn’t fall apart. These Doors were built of stone and could accommodate soldiers I believe atop it so that they could keep a watch on who is entering and exiting the city and to figure out fishy business.
Islam Darwaza
Makai Darwaza
How I wanted them to continue this till date, at least that way the Doors and the Walls would have remained intact and not encroached upon as I saw.
No name put up for this Darwaza
Hope they maintain what remains of these Doors.
Darwaza on the way to Noor Masjid Road

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