A Visit to a Cashew Farm in Goa

When we arrived at Devsar Farms near Bicholim in Goa I immediately felt relaxed. In front of me were rows of rubber trees. I could see green mangoes hanging nearby and a slender cashew tree added to the allure in the immediate vicinity. The parking spot for our vehicle was a giant banyan tree. My usual concrete filled vision found all this extremely soothing.

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The Parking Spot at the Devsar Farms

Farms and green places immediately remind me of home, in the small town of Gorakhpur. My father used to work in railways and I grew up among many trees. However, all of us now live in Gurgaon. When I was young having a green home was business as usual and now I hardly get time to I get nostalgic.

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Cashew Apples

As we were attending Goa’s Coconut and Cashew Festival 2015 it was appropriate that the itinerary included a visit to a cashew farm. For me this was a first as well. We were there at the low season, most of the cashews were plucked but I still got to see a few. After picking up the fruit, the nut is separated from the apple. The nut goes for further processing and the cashew apple is used to make Feni, the famous local alcoholic drink!

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Cashew on the Tree

Our guide for the day was Mr. Joshi who is the owner of the farm. He was quite happy to show us around, even though the day was hot. He encouraged us to try out any fruit that caught our fancy straight from the tree.

I was game to sip directly from the apple after the cashew nut was taken out. The juice is sweet with a slightly bitter aftertaste. Some find the smell of the fruit overbearing. For me it was not a problem. I was warned to be careful with the juice as its stains are permanent.

Mr. Joshi told us that representatives of cashew factories were happy to come to the farm and buy off the product. Even though the cashew was the main star of the visit there were other attractions too.

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Kokum

Before the visit to the Devsar Farm Kokum was a flavor for me on a packaged juice. And then I got to eat the fruit after plucking it straight off the tree! Kokum belongs to Mangostien family. I loved its tangy/sweet taste. Its skin can be dried and used to make juices and kadhi.

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Megha a Member of our Team and Mr. Joshi, the Owner of the Farm

 

I am religiously collecting the skin of the fruits that I got to carry home. The generous Mr. Joshi gave us a bagful of Kokums to carry home as well. As I predicted there itself, my daughter is enjoying them a lot, she likes tangy things.

This fruit picking session so reminded me of my childhood when the only way I would eat Litchi was straight after plucking from the tree, nestled comfortably in a branch, with juice dripping down my elbows!

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Green Mangoes on the Tree

As we were walking back to our car, I asked Mr. Joshi if the farm was open to visitors? He said not yet but there were plans to open it later. We also talked about the possibility of letting the tourists get involved with cashew picking and he said they were quite open to the idea!

When we later regrouped for a late lunch at Calangute Beach, I did realize how hot the day actually was. But I was so enjoying myself at the farm that the heat never bothered me there. The visit to the Devsar Farm was one of the highlights of my trip.

PS. I was invited by Goa Tourism on this trip.

Goa Coconut and Cashew Festival 2015

Where do you find good food, good music and handicrafts at one place? It is the Goa Coconut and Cashew Festival 2015 which is going on till 3rd May, 2015. I attended the first two days of the festival that started on 29th April. The venue is the Campal grounds. Before the start of the event we met the Goa Tourism MD Mr. Nikhil Desai.

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Goa Tourism MD Nikhil Desai

He briefed us on the event. One of us told him that Goa anyway gets tourist, they don’t need to market it. He very reasonably said that the competition is hotting up hence they also need to be ever vigilant.

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The Entrance Gate of the Festival

The venue was decked brightly in the festival theme, coconut and cashew being prominent everywhere! Even on a working day the venue was crowded.

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The Fireworks Mark the Start of the Festival

The festival started with a show of fire crackers. Both the chief minister of the state Laxmikant Parsekar and the tourism minister Dilip Parulekar were at the venue.

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Laxmikant Parsekar

I was surprised that I could walk right up to the chief minister while he was talking to Zee TV. A member of the Goa Tourism team gave me the thumbs up. He was not cordoned off from the public! I clicked this picture using  50mm prime lens, which means I got really close. I am sure he had security but it was not in your face.

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Local Distilleries

One of the famous by-product of cashew is feni, the popular local Goan drink. The local distillers were present in numbers. I was told that you cannot take feni or other liquor out of Goa by road. Both Karnataka and Maharashtra have check-points and a strict policy against bringing outside liquor. I could take out a souvenir bottle of feni out through the airport.

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Lembranca- Designed by Mario Miranda

This was the bottle of Lembranca home, with the label designed by the famous Mario Miranda. The bottle has been opened now.

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Food at the Festival

You would have more choice of food if you were a non-vegetarian at festival. But vegetarians have some options too. I quite enjoyed peas and cashew pulao with vegetable xacuti.

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Dancers at the Festival

It was a scintillating evening where local groups threw in great performances. Then there was Lorna.

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Lorna Performing at the Goa Coconut and Cashew Festival, 2015

Lorna is a very popular singer and known as ‘Nightingale of Goa’. She serenaded the audience with her songs for over an hour. I do not understand the finer nuances of music but it was a privilege to sit and listen to her, she has such a lovely voice.

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Lorna’s Group at the Festival

These energetic dancers were part of Lorna’s troupee. It was fun to see them sway perfectly to the music.

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A Young Fan at the Festival

I also loved the way this fan would dance to Lorna’s music in the lap of his mother. After about five minutes mom was just too tired to hold the dancing kid anymore!

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Rodeny Performing at Goa

On the second day I saw supercharged Rodney. He was singing the popular Bollywood numbers along with the local hits. I stood quite close to the stage and watched the performance for a while. The speakers would literally shake my eardrums. It was a revelation to me the way he engaged with the crowd and built the performance!

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A Lost Kid

During the festival there was a poignant moment when the anchors brought a lost girl to the stage. The girl was so agitated that she would not tell her name to them. As Chhavi is almost the same age, I could feel the terror of losing your child.

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The Handicrafts

There were handicrafts to carry home as well. Overall it was a fun festival. If you are in Goa till May 3rd 2015, do check out the Goa Coconut and Cashew Festival 2015. And enjoy Goa as well.

PS. I was invited by Goa Tourism to visit Goa and attend the festival.

Skywatch Friday My Love for Window Seats

When it comes to aeroplanes I think the world can be divided into window lovers and aisle lovers. And no one loves the middle seats. If you wish to confirm this argument skip doing the web check in and see which seats you get on a full flight. All windows and aisles would be gone and all you will get is a middle seat! I am a firm window seat lover.

On a few occasions when I forgot to do the web-check in and got a middle or aisle seat, my misery knew no bounds! Middle seat is a bit more miserable than aisle seat for the obvious reasons. You have the freedom to move around if you wish when you get an aisle seat but to me that is a very poor consolation. You ask why? Well the pictures are my answer to you.

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The Approach to Goa

No aisle seat can offer me this view. I recently visited Goa and came back today. I was invited by the Goa Tourism Department to attend the Goa’s Coconut and Cashew Festival. I managed to get a window seat both the times. The views are the reason of my addiction to the window seat. The only person who manages to dislodge me from it is my daughter Chhavi.

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Take off from Goa, Zuari Railway Bridge on the Right

I have been on aisle seats when the person occupying the window seat has been fast asleep through a blazing sunrise! Nothing can be more frustrating for a window lover! Thankfully my Goa trip doesn’t fall in that category. I could see the Zuari Bridge from air. The coastline looked so majestic from the air!

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Blue Blue Sea

I find the best opportunity to click pictures is when the plane banks on your window side. It is an awesome feeling to see the sea and sky merge in the far distance. And when I think that someone else paid for ticket because I blog, I feel truly blessed.

PS. This post is part of Skywatch Friday community, I have been a part of it for many years.

The Orchids from Chiang Mai, Thailand

I am a huge fan of flowers. So, when we made an unscheduled stop at Bai Orchid and Butterfly Farm in Chiang Mai, Thailand, I knew I was in for some good times. I did the butterfly post separately. It is now time to do the orchid post.

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Beautiful Orchids

As I said in the butterfly post too, Bai Orchid and Butterfly Farm is a small place but it is beautiful and well maintained. They also have a well appointed souvenir shop which features what else but orchids based jewellery!

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Purple Orchids

Our guide Aroon explained things about the orchids but I knew we had a short stop and I wanted the pictures first. I am now wondering if that was a very good idea. You see, I have the pictures but I know very little about orchids! So the post is mostly about putting in the pretty pictures I clicked!

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Red Orchids

As Thailand is my most visited country (it is a tie with UK, 5 times each) after the first two trips, I actually started looking forward to the trips because I knew I would be feasting on orchids. They are such a part of the decoration in hotels, shops, restaurants and homes!

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Yellow Orchids

The tryst starts right at the Suvarnabhumi International Airport as the place is full of beautiful orchids. If I go to Thailand again, I would surely click the variety found at the airport itself and do a post on it. It is one of the best ways to spend time too, unless you would rather shop!

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Looking Delicate

All I picked up about the flowers is that some of the species are native to the land and others hybrid. Most I believe (but I don’t vouch) are hybrids that I saw. But native or hybrid, they added so much cheer to my day!

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White with a Touch of Yellow!

The Bai Orchid and Butterfly farm very prominently displays a sign which says you would be fined 2000 baht if you pluck the flowers! That would be around 4000 Indian rupees!

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Pretty Orchids

Given a free hand I could have easily spent an hour at the place, but that is because I like to click pictures. If you wish to see and click just a few pictures 40 minutes or less might be enough. I got about 30 minutes to spend admiring the beautiful orchids.

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Beautiful Orchids

I on the other hand wanted to click every flower growing out there. 30 minutes for that are way too less. I failed miserably.

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Growing Pretty!

The flowers are arranged in neat rows. The place had only a few visitors when I went there. They have a nice restaurant within the premises.

 

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Gorgeous Orchids

I sign off this post with this gorgeous bunch. And even though there are many more stories from Thailand that I need to share, come Wednesday and I should be off to Goa!

Nepal Earthquake

I visited Nepal twice in 2012 and 2013 and I simply fell in love with the tiny nation. It feels like my other home. Like so many others my trips to Nepal have been for trekking- Everest Base Camp in 2012 and Annapurna Circuit in 2013. I was able to complete the EBC trek and I had to give up the Annapurna Circuit Trek due to bad weather. In between these two trips I feel head over heel in love with Nepal. It is so difficult to believe that Nepal Earthquake is a reality now and the nation is facing such a tough time.

Yesterday I did not feel the tremors at all. My husband asked me if I felt the quake to which my reply was a firm no. But whenever we have felt minor shakes, I know somewhere else it would be bad! After a few minutes thanks to Twitter I realized the epicenter was close to Kathmandu and the magnitude severe- 7.9 on richter scale. Today I was at my sister’s place. As she lives in a high rise and I was sitting on the bed, I could feel the effects of the aftershocks which were once again centered in Nepal at 6.7 on the richter scale. We all tumbled out of the building when the tremors were felt. If it feels so scary with minor shocks I can only imagine how bad it would be in the affected areas.

The next question was what could I could? Of course it is tiny, miniscule but I wanted to donate immediately. After mulling over it for a while I decided to donate to PMNRF (Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund) as India announced immediate aid to Nepal. Even though the website says the money will not be used for foreign calamities I still decided to donate to them, hoping it would be of benefit indirectly.

In the long run, a few months after the media attention would have moved elsewhere, I sincerely hope I would be able to volunteer in Nepal. This is more of a wish than anything else with a thousand logistical issues, but I hope I will be able to pull it through. I feel very close to Nepal. I have a schoolmate there, I remember people from my trekking agency. They all are safe. But my heart goes out to the people of this fabulous nation, may they recover fast and gain peace.

Bai Orchid and Butterfly Farm Chiang Mai, Thailand

We made an unscheduled stop at the Bai Orchid and Butterfly Farm Chiang Mai in Thailand and I am glad we did. When I went in there were a lot of orchids in bloom. There were quite a few butterflies in the enclosure too. I would any given day see the butterflies in the wild but it was a large enclosure full of flowers, so I think the butterflies were not at risk. However, I may be wrong in assuming this and I am willing to be educated.

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Butterflies like Salt

As soon as we entered the butterfly enclosure we saw this bunch sitting on the ground. I have seen this once before and people who are in the know told me it is because of the salt content. Apparently butterflies like salt.

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Hanging on to the Net

The top enclosure was made of net and butterflies were hanging for it. This beauty made only a brief appearance on the net and then hid itself effectively in the flowers and bushes.

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A Bunch of Butterflies

By now you might want to ask me, where are the orchids. Well they are there but I am going to do another post on them as I have way too many butterflies to show!

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A Bronze Beauty

How I wish I knew the names of the butterflies but I do not know even a single name. What a pity! I guess it is about time I tried to change it, after all I can identify about a hundred birds, so why not butterflies too!

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Green and Black

When I was at the Bai Orchid and Butterfly Farm, it was not too crowded. The tourist who were there in the enclosure were super quiet and mindful of not scaring the butterflies.

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Lantana and a Butterfly

While we were admiring the butterflies a friend from our group was visiting a place where they had King Cobras! He asked if I would like to join, but the chicken that I am, I shuddered at the mere idea!

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A Black Beauty

I have to admit it was much more easy to click pictures in the enclosure than it has been to click out in the open. For one there were a lot of butterflies and they seemed to be used to human presence.

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Bug Me Not!

You could use any lens to shoot them, even your cell phone, as they were quite close at hand. They were quite fond of lantana flowers.

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A Blue and Brown Butterfly

This butterfly at the first glance would look of a dull brown color, till it flapped its delicate wings and gave you a flash of blue!

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A Blue Butterfly

And then there was this one, of pale blue shade, happily going about its business. The Bai Orchid and Butterfly Farm Chiang Mai is a small place but it is well kept. There is an entrance fee at the gate.

In the next part I will show you the orchids from the place!

Sky Watch Friday- Countries Traveled, The Last Part

A while ago, I started country counting. My tally stands at just sixteen, or maybe I should say sweet sixteen. So I round up the tally with some of the beautiful skies I captured in the last six of them. You can see the first ten countries here and here. So this completes the list of countries traveled so far by me, at least for time being.

Cambodia (With Tourism Authority of Thailand and Cambodia Tourism Board)

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Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Cambodia has been my shortest stay at any international location. I had only only night in the Angkor region. I crammed the night market and the sunrise at Angkor Wat in that. I got very little sleep but the memories that I made are priceless.

Finland (With Nokia, Now Microsoft)

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Beautiful lapland, Finland

Finland was such an amazing winterland. I have never seen so much snow in my life. The highest temperature that I encountered during my entire stay was 2 degree celsius. The coldest was minus 22 degrees. Lapland was colder than Helsinki. With such cold weather it was very easy to appreciate both central heating and sauna.

Maldives (Personal Trip)

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Maafushi, Maldives

My younger nephew Sunil and I went to Maldives last year. Maldives is incredibly beautiful and then some more. And contrary to the perceptions it can be done on a budget.

Jordan (with Jordan Tourism Board)

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The Grand Hyatt at Amman, Jordan

Like South Africa, Jordan was not on my list, at least not in the near future, because eventually everything is on my list. It was also special because I got to attend a mass by Pope Francis! Now even in my wildest dreams I never imagined getting an opportunity like that! Dead Sea was incredible fun and I discovered delicious vegetarian food in Jordan!

Bhutan (with Make My Trip)

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Thimphu, Bhutan

Visiting Bhutan was like stepping back in time, say by 20 years! I was about to say 50 years but then I realized that it is more than my age! I simply fell in love with Bhutan. And if you are into trekking, you have to trek to the Tiger’s Nest Monastery. Even you are not, you still have to hike up to the monastery!

Hong Kong (Personal Trip)

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Double Trouble in Hong Kong

Hong Kong was a truly memorable trip because I took double trouble (my daughter and niece) to Hong Kong on their first trip abroad. Of course Disneyland was the agenda! All I can say is that I took out two kids with me alone and I have lived to tell the tale!

PS. This post is part of Skywatch Friday, the fabulous community of people who love gazing at the skies.

Travel during Summer Vacations

It is that time of the year again when a lot of people will plan to travel. After all it would be summer vacation time soon! Destinations would be discussed and debated, mountain vs sea debates will flare up.

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Flying High, Well That is the Only Way to Fly I Guess?

Plans for finding cheap flights and lowend tickets would be afoot in many households. For many travel during summer vacations is a must as everyone can take leave at the same time!

However I stand aloof and do not join in the excitement. For one even though my daughter goes to school, she is still quite small. So, traveling on extended weekends is not a problem. Two, everyone and their relatives will be planning to travel during the school holidays. That leads to trains getting booked within minutes of becoming available for reservation, increased airfares, costlier hotels and food and what not.

I often stay away from traveling during summer vacations, at least to the popular spots. But I met my nemesis once, in Hong Kong. My daughter, niece and I traveled to Hong Kong in 2014. My daughter’s passport has just arrived and I decided to take her and my niece on their first trip abroad. So far so good.

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Us at Hong Kong

We landed in Hong Kong safe and sound. As the trip was with the kids the main thing on the list was the Disneyland. However we did not know that August was the school holiday time in Hong Kong. On top of that we went to the Disneyland on a Sunday. It was a hot day too. As soon as I got down from the bus, I noted the location of the taxi stand. I had a suspicion that the girls might wish to go back early, much before the 9.00 pm fireworks!

I have grant it to them, the kids were good sport. They did not complain much for waiting in the lines that formed in front of various rides. For almost every ride the wait time was 40 to 60 minutes! By four in the evening the kids told me they wanted to go back home! Off we went to the taxi counter and to our hotel! That is what summer vacations can do to your travel! So while you plan to travel in the school holidays, I think I am going to take it easy!

Wat Phra That at Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Even my sleep deprived eyes could see that I was in the middle of grand splendor at the Wat Phra That Temple Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I can’t fall asleep on planes and I can’t feel fresh without sleep, hence the first day of a trip is usually tough for me. I visited the temple on the very first day, walking like a zombie and yet I came back completely awed.

Wat Phra That at Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai is a spectacular Buddhist Temple. Doi means a mountain so Wat Phra That is the temple on Suthep Mountain. But the temple is popularly known as Doi Suthep after the name of the mountain, I suspect because it is easier to pronounce?

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Wat Phra That, Chiang Mai, Thailand

The Legend: The construction of the temple started in 1383 or thereabout. The temple is considered to be holy as it treasures a relic of the Buddha. There is a legend associated with the temple. It is said that the King of the Lanna Kingdom kept the relic on a white elephant, so that it would lead the way. The elephant climbed Doi Suthep, sat down there and then died. It was considered a sign to construct the temple there.

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The Nagas and the Steps to the Wat Phra That Temple, Chiang Mai

The Climb: The nagas mark the way up to the temple. There are about 300 steps to climb to reach the main temple. However, if due to any reason you do not feel like climbing the steps, there is a cable car available to go to the top for a fee of 30 Baht. As we had landed the same day in Thailand and were feeling quite sleep deprived, we took the cable car to go up but we came down by the steps.

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The Ashes within the Temple Premise

The Periphery: The temple has two parts the main pagoda and the periphery. Our guide Aroon explained a holy practice at the periphery of the temple. The pictures of the people you see are vaults where their loved ones have stored their ashes. People from all religion can use the temple to honor their loved ones in this way. After a while it is possible to remove the ashes and move it to another temple or to set it free in a river. To enter the main temple it is compulsory to remove the shoes. The periphery provides a sweeping panorama of the city but unfortunately for us, the weather was hazy.

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A Tourist with the Locals at the Temple, Chiang Mai

The Dress Code: The temples in Thailand have a dress code. You are supposed to cover your knee and shoulders. So a t-shirt with sleeves and trousers would work well. Technically capris that cover the knee are fine, but I prefer to wear a jeans or a full length trousers.

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The Beautiful Temple

Time: Even though the temple complex is not huge, it is so full of beauty that I would recommend more than an hour to explore it in any detail. You would stop at almost every step to peer about something or the other. If you like to click pictures I would say double that time.

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Lord Buddha at Wat Phra That, Chiang Mai

The Inner Temple: Peace reigns within the inner complex. There is no restriction on photography in the area. People offer flowers, light candles and lamps and generally pay their respect. The place is popular both with the locals and the tourists.

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The Colors at the Temple

The Small Wonders: I found the small things at the temple so very beautiful. I do not understand the meaning of the symbols clearly, say for this red vessel. But it is a thing of beauty and joy to see the colors in all quarters.

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The Nagas at the Temple

The Vivid Nagas: I was also mesmerized by the details of the idols. As an Indian I am no stranger to the nagas but the next time I end up in Thailand (I hope I will go back) I am going to explore their significance in Buddhism as well.

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One of the Main Halls at the Temple

The Main Halls: I could see two large halls within the inner circle of the temple. This was the only place where they had put a notice saying ‘please sit down while taking pictures’. Such places usually make me feel at rest. But on that day I was too tired and restless to sit quietly and contemplate for a while.

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Lighting the Lamps

Lighting the Lamps: There is something about burning lamps that draws me like a magnet, be it any place of worship. You can take in all these visual delights if you walk slowly around the inner circle.

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Evening Prayers at Wat Phra That, Chiang Mai

Evening Prayers: We were lucky to sit through (should I say photograph?) the evening prayers. Once again there is no restriction on photography. There are only two expectations, that you would also sit down and that you would keep quiet.

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Writing our Names on the Holy Cloth

Writing our Names: There is a cloth in the temple where you can write your name or wishes and it is eventually wrapped around the structures in the temple. Most of us were content to write our names, maybe add the name of a dear one too. But one of your team members, Gaurav, would write a story! May God grant him whatever he was seeking!

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The Evening Light

The Warm Evening Light: If you are particular about photography I would say go in the evening as the fading sun turns the temple into gold! I accidently discovered that the sun rays were falling on my face! I mean who would not click a selfie in such a scenario?

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Shops at Wat Phra That Doi Suhtep, Chiang Mai

Food and Souvenirs: We walked down the steps straight to food and souvenir shops! Walking all around is bound to make you hungry. I so love Thai street food. Munching on rice cakes we walked off from the area! It was a perfect end to a lovely visit to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai.

An Epic Adventure with Flying Squirrels, Chiang Mai, Thailand

When I heard that we taking a 45 minute drive out of Chiang Mai (Thailand) to experience a zipline, I was not too sure what we were up to. I have done ziplines before. I agree they are a lot of fun while they last, which is often less than a minute. I was not sure I wanted to travel for 45 minutes to do this. But then it was before I encountered Flying Squirrels beyond Chiang Mai.

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Vaishali, Arpit, Me, June, Gaurav and Manjulika

Flying Squirrels is a two and a half hours adventurous course made of 32 stations. It has 17 ziplines, 1 abseil, 6 walking steps, 2 climbing nets, 2 sky bridges, 1 Tarzan Jump, 1 skateboard, 1 bicycle zipline and 1 slider. Their website gives a very good map of the various activities on offer. June was the manager for Flying Squirrels who joined us for the group photograph.

It was quite an experience to zip through 17 times over a canopy of green. It was fun to glide over the giant tree tops. The rest of 15 courses kept me completely engrossed as well. In fact I was so into doing the activity that I hardly noticed the lush green surroundings. I have enjoyed them more through the pictures I clicked.

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That is How a Pro Comes on a Zipline!

To carry a cell phone or a camera on the lines you need a way to secure them. The camera can’t be held in hand because one is bound to drop it while zipping through. The folks at the Flying Squirrels gave me a pouch to carry my cell phone. I am really thankful for their suggestion or else I would have missed out on so many fun pictures!

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The Fun Moments

The longest zipline is 600 meters. It is so long that if you are light weight you might not reach the end of the line! It happened to our lightest colleague. One of the flight instructors had to go and fetch him from the line where he had stopped on his own!

Every group has two instructors; the first one would send you on the line securely. The other instructor would receive us at the end of the line and help us in landing. At the landing they often asked us to raise our legs. The help was needed also to avoid collision with the trees that stand firm at the landing stations.

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The Walking Steps at the Flying Squirrels- Manjulika, Arpit and Me

The platforms for the ziplines are quite high and sometimes narrow. As soon as I would land on such platforms the instructor would secure me to a line firmly. It is imperative that we do not unfasten the line while waiting for others to land. It was drilled into us to leave the lines well alone, only instructors would touch them.

As Thai names are quite difficult the nicknames of our instructors were Pong and Kishan. Actually Kishan was not the nick name but it was easy for me to remember. So, for the entire course we were in good hands.

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On the Bicycle- Manjulika and Me

We were a group of five people plus two instructors. One of us left the course after maybe 5 stations! Amongst the rest I was declared to be the most fearless. About half way through the course I started wondering why was I not scared when everyone else was. It was only later in the evening I realized that I too was quite scared till I was securely clipped to the line. Most of the platforms are high and I would not step up till Pong snapped all the three security lines in place. But once I was secure, letting go was easy and fun for me.

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I can do that!

At one platform Pong asked me if I would like to get my picture clicked hanging in the air. I was game for it. If you look at the picture closely, you can see that I am still clipped to the line. But there is another picture of mine, taken by their professional photographer where I actually left my hands while on the zipline! They give that photograph to you as a souvenir.

Our instructors were fun. For them it was not enough that we were doing the 32 courses. They would tug the line while we were hanging on it. They sometimes shook the walking steps too. For me that was good fun as well but I am not sure everyone would agree with it.

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The End of the Trip at the Flying Squirrels, Chiang Mai, Thailand

The last obstacle is a steep slide where they put you inside a sack and let you zoom through. We were all smiles after doing the entire course successfully.

I had gone in wondering why someone would drive for 45 minutes to do a zipline! After two and a half hours I knew exactly why. The day ends with lunch being served at the Flying Squirrels headquarters if you are doing the morning course. After experiencing the Flying Squirrels I would never think of a zipline as simply a zipline! Who knew ziplines could be so much fun!