Foreign tourist coming to India are mostly bound to do a
common tourist circuit called the Golden Triangle. This Golden Triangle
consists of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. Apart from this, there
is another very important site, which is referred to as the Diamond Triangle
and is a very important part of India’s Buddhist heritage.
Lalitgiri, Ratnagiri and Udayagiri are
referred to as the Diamond Triangle of Odisha and is often considered as
some of the most important Buddhist sites of the state. The name Diamond
Triangle is not due to the locations of these sites on map instead the very
root or sect of Buddhism from where these have evolved.
Vajrayana which when you translate from Sanskrit
would mean Thunderbolt Vehicle (Vajra = Thunderbolt and Yana
= Vehicle). In Sanskrit Diamond is also known as Vajramaṇi
thus Vajrayana was referred to as the Diamond Vehicle sect of Buddhism.
For two straight days, I was trying to locate Bagore Ki Haveli in Udaipur and I just could not locate it. If I Google it then nothing was showing up and when it did it had nothing out there. I had almost given up hope trying to track Bagore Ki Haveli until the last day when we were supposed to catch our flight back to Kolkata. After having our breakfast we wanted to stroll around Lake Pichola as we had already checked out of our hotels thus had some time in our hands to kill. We just wanted to sit by the lake and enjoy the bright sun as the winter chill was freezing us.
It was Republic Day weekend thus tourists had thronged to
the tourist town of Udaipur. We were confident in finding a car that
will take us to Kumbhalgarh next morning so did not bother to book the
car in advance. We had reached Udaipur at around 11 at night and Udaipur was
freezing at around 5 degree Celsius thus we dared not to venture out at night.
Even though we got up early in the morning a quick stroll around the town
revealed that all cars were booked and no travel agent could get us a car for a
day trip to Kumbhalgarh Fort. Due to the distance auto would not dare to
Our next best option was to hire a two-wheeler and since I have done regular long drives on my Royal Enfield Thunderbird, thus riding constantly for long hours would not be a problem for me. In Udaipur, you can get two types of bikes on rent one would be the Royal Enfield, which would be around Rs. 1200 to Rs. 1400, and Scooty, which you can get around Rs. 400 to Rs. 500 depending on the season.
It was 1st of April what we have popularly known as April Fool’s Day but this day was not just any ordinary April fool’s day for me. This is the very day I got to see Hagia Sophia ticking it off from my bucket list. If I ever wanted to visit Turkey then it was for two reasons once would be to witness Friday prayers at the Blue Mosque and second would be to visit Hagia Sophia.
The moment the door of the airplane flung open, I felt the Istanbul air. It was windy and the cool breeze was hitting my face like a thousand needles. Honestly, I never expected Istanbul to be so cold in April. It was brief stopover thus I had to make most of it; I hurriedly rushed to clear immigration counter and looked out for the board with my name on it. I had booked my airport transfer shuttle to not lose even a minute trying to figure out my transport options.
For quite some time during my childhood, we used to live in Bangalore (Bengaluru) and that means regular train travel since air travel was simply out of the question. One of the highlights of the train travel was when the train traveled right next to Chilka Lake. We as a family did quite a few trips to Puri but somehow always skipped a trip to Chilka. Forever I wanted to see the Dolphins and of course the charm of a long boat ride.
Every time the train would pass Chilka Lake I would peep outside the window trying to get a good look at it. Since only a small portion of the lake can be visible from the moving train thus the beautiful scenery would just zoom past. I would wish that someday I would get the opportunity to see the lake for real.
The first vacation that a Bengali family usually takes would be either a trip to Puri or to Darjeeling. For my family, it started with a planned trip to Darjeeling in the mid-1980’s. All the bags were packed and I was super excited especially to see Tiger Hills which I thought was a hill full of tigers back then at an age eight nothing could be more exciting. We reach the station to board our train only to find out that all trains to the hills were canceled due to recent agitation by some political parties.
Not to disappoint us my father made an impromptu trip Puri as an alternative. I still have some faintest memories like the beach, the railway station where a couple was fighting (the wife not happy with the choice of train seat) and the sweet meat selling vendors. Not to forget the sumptuous lunch cooked by my mom which included chicken, mutton and of course tons of fish. Yes, back then most families cooked their own food while staying at one of the several holiday homes. This was also a trip where my grandmother was also with us which I believe was the only time she had accompanied us during a vacation.