Sunday, 17 February 2013

Back to Goa

After spending three days and three nights in Gokarna, finally I am back to Goa again. The eye still troubles me but the pleasure of returning to the land of my great friends and cheap petrol is unbeatable. The photos remind me of my time in Sirsi and the jungles of Yana.

 I intend to be in Goa for a while to recover and then ride towards southern states of India once again. 

Let's see what's there in store for me this week.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Off to Sirsi

After spending more than a week in Goa, now I ride towards Sirsi, a small town in Karnataka that is 70km west from the beach city of Gokarna. The idea is to check out a Karnatic village and the jungles of Yana. The stay shall not be more than couple of days but the experience should last a lifetime.

In this leg of my road-trip a Russian friend of mine is accompanying me, who has already visited the monolithic rock structures of Yana. A great photographer and an excellent company. Let's see if she can hold on to the Bullet and the road or she collapses midway.

It is indeed a very sad moment to leave behind my good friends and the cheap petrol of Goa. Not to forget the booze but then to get some, you have to loose some. This is life of a nomadic rider, I guess.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Early Morning Ride to Old Goa

Today I had a cold ride to Old Goa, for taking pictures of churches and ruins of monuments. Then in the evening I ran around naked on a beach, all of it was absolute fun. Read all about it in my 6th day of travel in Goa.

The morning started with a phone call to a friend. We were to ride towards Old Goa and take the pictures of the two famous churches (Se Cathedral & Bassilica of Bom Jesus) and all that's around it. This was my idea because yesterday the battery of my camera died on me. The morning ride towards Old Goa (25km) from Arpora was cold but the view was priceless. I am glad I made that decision.

On reaching the spot where the long stretch of the road divides both the churches, was absolutely empty and the view was perfect to be captured in a wide screen panorama shot. My friend loved the place and then started our photography campaign. Walking beside the road, we took photographs of the monuments from every angle and then we reached to the gates. We asked the guard if we can get in the premises. He gladly allowed us. Here we found that one can enter the premises from sunrise and be there till sunset, irrespective of the timings of the main area to be opened up. A good information for me to follow henceforth.

The first photography zone was Se Cathedral

This is one of the largest churches in Goa. It was established in 1619 in the reign of the King Dom Sebastiao. However, the alters were not finished till the 1652 but today the entire place has a majestic aura of its own. 

Its Golden Bell is popular for its rich and solid sound. Here one will find the main alter dedicated to the St. Catherine of Alexandaria. While the paintings around it depicts the scenes from her major life events and martyrdom.

One may take photos without flash. But do not take photos of the objects, alters, paintings with a person. It is not allowed and it is inappropriate as well. Also, use of tripod or stand for photography is prohibited, so is videography.

The Convent & Church of St. Francis Assisi

This is behind Se Cathedral.This is a grand place that has an amazing charm to it. The entrance will bring the visitor to a huge hall where the stunning raredos will make one admire its beauty. The floor has many priest buried beneath it so one must keep a check on where they are stepping. Again, the photography is allowed but not the use of tripod or stands or videography. One may also check out the Archaeological Museum that is just beside it as well as the Furniture Museum that is between Se Cathedral and Convent & Church of St. Francis Assisi.

The Chapel of St. Catherine

This is a small chapel on the western side of the premises, which is beautiful to look at. The pieces of ruins arranged beside it gives a fantabulous image of the old Portuguese era in the mind of the visitor.

The Huge Wheels to Crush and Mix

Behind the Chapel of St Catherine, one may see a pair of huge wheels, which were used to crush and mix the cementing ingredients with each other. These wheels were chiseled by hands in those days but still, all of them look identical to each other.

The Church of St Cajetan

This is on the north-east side of the main premises, which is very good to look at. The Gate of Adil Shah's Palace is on the left side of the main entrance gate of the premises. 

The Viceroy's Arch

It is built by the Portuguese when they won the lands of Goa. A small gate with a lot of history behind it.

After this we walked back towards the main area as we needed to see the other sides of the road. Here a lot of things were waiting to be explored again and shot with a camera. But before everything else, we needed something to eat. It has been nearly 4 hours since we started from Arpora and we were yet to have our breakfast. Due to lack of a good restaurant nearby we decided to go have some Sugarcane juice, which was indeed a good idea. Now the second part of our exploration start.

The Basilica of Bom Jesusis

This is a world famous place among the Roman Catholics as well as the people who are interested in historical monuments. Here the mortal remains of the patron saint of animals, St. Francis Xavier rests. he was the former pupil of the much famous St. Ignatious Loyola whom founded the Jesuit order. St Francis Xavier was known all over in those days for his missionary voyage.  He died on 2nd December, 1552. His body remained incorrupt, even when a servant poured four sacks of quicklime to his body in the coffin, so his flesh may be consumed by it and the remains may be returned to Goa. However, two months later when his coffin was moved to Malacca, it was observed that his body is still in perfect condition.

Later in the 19th century the body was put under a glass coffin for the visitors to come and view. In the middle of the 19th century, the current cycle of exposition in every 10 years commenced. The next exposition will happen in 2014. So be ready to reach Goa.

The rules of taking pictures here are the same as everywhere else, so please practice that.

After all the revisits and visits, taking photos, it was already 12:30 P.M. and we were exhausted. Hence we decided to rush to my friend's place, back to Arpora.

The day was excellent and perfect, I got as many shots as my camera's battery allowed and to top everything off. I had a good long ride in the morning to a place, which was peaceful, calm and made me start pondering again on the purpose of my life. I shall find the answer very soon.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Road-Trip Commences...

A shot from my last roadtrip in 2012 July in Maharashtra
It has been a long time that I rode long distance, since I have come down to Mumbai for work. Now things will change for good. I have resigned and about to embark on a journey that will take me to places, which I have never seen before nor heard before. This will be a test of my riding skills as well as communication skills as I'll be riding down south, where the language barrier will exist. 

Moreover, part of my ride will cover the insurgent affected states of Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Chhatisgarh, Jharkhand, West-Bengal and Bihar. The path would be treacherous and packed with dangers but I suppose, without an element of risk no adventure is truly an experience to share.

I'll start my ride tomorrow from Mumbai to Goa, where I'll be doing nearly 700km via NH17. The ghats of Sahyadri shall brush my riding efficiency effectively. This would be my first time in Goa and I really do not know what to expect. So my fingers are crossed.

The most important thing in this trip would be the human element. By that I mean, everyone with whom I would meet on the way. Some will be old friends and many would be friends, whom I never met in my life till now. It would be indeed something to explore, where I intend to stay with the locals and understand the area with their perspective. This will help me get to know the place better like a native but not like a tourist.

Another thing I am experimenting in this road trip would be with my accommodation  I intend to stay with the strangers and locals throughout my journey. It's not for the economic reason but to travel in a totally different manner. Staying in the hotels would be easy but putting up with absolute strangers will be a very different kind of experience all together.

I'll also be seeking companionship on the way, so I get to see the off beat places and taste the local delicacies. This practice will also help my hosts to overcome their inhibitions against the riders, who are seen as hooligans across the Indian sub-continent.

Now I'll give you a brief introspect on my entire road-trip.

The Rider:
Raghu Raj Murmu 
Age: 29
Gender: Male

Profession: Content Writer
Adventurous, humorous, friendly, helpful, sober, witty, talkative, quite...and more

The Ride

Royal Enfield Bullet 350cc STD (1968)
It has done 10,000km in 64 days with a rider and pillion across 11 states & 2 union territories in 64 days, 2011 July-September.
3000km from Jamhedpur to New Delhi and back to Jamshedpur for Rider Mania 2012 January-February.
2000km from Jamshedpur to Mumbai in July 2012.

The Route

It's all flexible so if someone invites me over to stay at their place for sometime, I may change my route.
In a nut-shell the highway will lead me through the West coast area into Gokarna, Udupi, Mangalore, Cochin, Maysore, Bangalore, Coorg, Hospet, Hyderbad and then I'll have to decide. Hence, if someone has any suggestions, then it would be great. But the final destination is Naxalbari in West-Bengal.

2nd February 2013: Mumbai to Goa (700km)

The Sponsors
The entire trip is self-sponsored and will be completed with the help of my friends as well as family. However, if any corporate house intends to back me up, I don't mind promoting their products on the way.