Travel Diary: Million Star Camp In Thar Desert!
I travel to discover. I travel to rediscover. Nothing gives me the high that travelling does! Savouring in the exquisiteness of a new place swathed in the glory of mesmerizing onlookers. Striking a chord with people who speak a different language by connecting through shared emotions and gastronomic adventures that leave you craving for more. It is something that only a travel bug can understand. Last March I treated myself to a weekend retreat to the beautiful neighbour of Hyderabad, Mahabalipuram – Chennai.
I opted for a bus journey as I find it quite convenient. I kicked off the journey on 23rd of the month via Transit Tours & Travels (Business class) around 9:30 pm and reached Chennai the next day around 7:30 am. IIT Madras was my dwelling for the next couple of days where I stayed as my sister’s guest. The sprawling campus boasts of beautiful deers sauntering with no worries in the world. And, yes they are quite photo-friendly and happy to be part of your selfie marathon! After a back-breaking bus journey all I needed was a peaceful siesta and so it was!
Day 1 (24.03.2016): My own beachside stories!
As dusk crawled in we decided to step out of the IIT campus and explore the city. Chennai is known for its lounging beaches bathed in the strokes of gushing waves! Lit up by the beaming flush of the ruddy moon, Marina Beach was our first destination for the evening. With the soft breeze playfully teasing our tresses and the steady effort of walking through the sand, it was a one of a kind experience. The best part was when the waves beckoning with a roaring start but by the time it reaches the finishing line of the shore, it spatters on your feet and you are left with giggles in this game of you vs. the waves! It was not just the waves that were roaring, but our tummies too! Hence, we settled for the ever reliable mirchi bhajji that was served with tangy chutney, sold in the beach region. The perfect snacks for a perfect evening exemplified by the deep dark sea.
We followed it up by shopping for local souvenirs. The Marina Beach souvenir stalls are a testimony to the sheer talent of the local artisans and their ingeniousness with shells and conches. Pampering the curator in me I purchased a sleek, shell neckpiece, earrings, ganesha made out of wheat grains and pen stands that substitute as paperweight for friends, family and of course me. Next we headed to the MGR Memorial park that has a splendid entrance with a winged horse. And that is how I wrapped up the first leg of the journey.
Day 2 (25. 03. 2016): The architectural marvels of Mahabalipuram!
Day 2 was the most awaited phase of the trip as it was time to immerse in the grandeur of the bygone era with magnificent architectural marvels and soaking in the sun on the Mahabalipuram Beach. The journey from Chennai to Mahabalipuram is less than an hour. We witnessed a series of architectural splendours- Five Rathas, the caves of Mahabalipuram, the Mahishasura Mardini Panel, the descent of the Ganges, Old Light House and Sea Shore Temple. Mahabalipuram beach is adjacent to the sea shore temple and it was the perfect sojourn after our historical errand! Near the Five Rathas there is a decent market that sells souvenirs. My Mahabalipuram haul consisted of a beautiful floral work hat that exuded vintage vibes, locally handcrafted sling bag, peacock feather earrings, shell hair accessories and post cards.
Day 3 (26.03.2016): Of sand tales, sea shells and ebbing waves!
On the last leg of my Chennai trip I had the pleasure of indulging in authentic Tamil cuisine from Prems Grama Bhojanam. What stood out for me was that all the items were prepared with jowar and bajra living upto their healthy philosophy. Loved the jaggery delicacy at the end! I would suggest that you visit this place, not just for the food, but also for the warm manager, who meticulously explains each of the items on the platter and provides an interesting anecdote about the motivation behind the restaurant. Post lunch it was once again time to hit the shores! Besant Nagar Beach was my last destination for the trip. Walking in the blazing hot sand during a sweltering Chennai summer was not a joke but as the sound and sight of the waves became salient it was all worth the pain! There is something about the sea that is calming, tranquil and triggers temporary amnesia to the ordeals of your life. Besant Nagar Beach is ideal for reveling in the euphoria of collecting shells that come in all shapes, sizes and colours. I have had some wonderful memories of stacking up my pocket with numerous shells and bringing out the child in me!
I left for Hyderabad the same night via Orange Travels and drew the curtain over a memorable weekend getaway the testimony of which is borne by the sands!
This is my travel checklist when travelling to Chennai:
What I wore:
LOOK 1: For the Mahabalipuram trip I swore by an Aurelia cobalt blue kurti with a beautiful peacock motifs at the neckline. I teamed it up with a snake textured, fitted pant from Ginger, Lifestyle store. I kept the look fuss-free with a shell neckpiece that is a part of my Chennai Haul, Peacock feather earrings and a dainty handcuff that I picked up from Hampi, Karnataka.
LOOK 2: For my Besant Nagar Beach tour I channeled the beach-bohemian vibe with a mint printed Candies top from Pantaloons coordinated with printed culottes from Max Fashion. I accessorized the look with a floral work hat that I got from Mahabalipuram, shell neckpiece from Marina Beach, a stack of trinkets and baubles that I bought from Globus, Accessorize and Pune flea market, sling bag from Mahabalipuram and water-proof flats from Bata.
For both the days it was Royal blue Joe Black reflectors that brought out the swag in me!
P.S. The Besant Nagar beach lookbook has been featured in the official Instagram account of Pantaloons.
Must visit places in Chennai:
Besant Nagar Beach
Guindy National Park
Must visit places in Mahabalipuram:
Caves of Mahabalipuram
Old light house
Sea shore temple
What to buy:
Shell blinds and curtains from Marina Beach
Collectibles from Mahabalipuram
Mirror with shell border
Conch shells in Mahabalipuram
Keyrings of Minions, Dora, Frozen and many more,
Happy travelling you guys! Xoxo!
Gangtok Travel Diary!
Prison Hostel – The Hostel Crowd!
Veteran Times Fashion Photographer Bill Cunningham Is No More!
South African Safari : Summer Special!
Shiduli : The South African Safari Resort!