Rama Warrier's Blog

Author: Rama Warrier

Should you take a group tour or plan one for yourself?

Should you take a group tour or plan one for yourself?

When we decided to tour Europe, the question of opting for one of the standard tours or planning one on our own came up. We opted to plan things ourselves.

What made us take this call?

  • The most critical factor was that we felt that if planned well, we could do it cheaper than a standard package
  • The next factor was the ability to decide exactly how many days / how much to time should be spent at a location
  • Most European location would have much more to see than what time you could afford to spend there. So making a choice of what to see is very important. In a package one hardly has a choice.
  • The most irritating aspect of a group tour is that you are as fast as the slowest team member. Also the departure and break times are decided based on the general requirements – may not be what you want
  • We were covering only Schengen countries, so visa was simple

Birding on Jog – Sagar Road

Birding on Jog – Sagar Road

We spent a day and two nights at ‘stay@matthuga’, a homestay, to visit Jog falls and the old temples near Sagar. Birding was an added bonus. On two mornings we had the opportunity to bird near Talavata – a village about 20km away from Sagar on NH 206 where the homestay is located. It is about 10km before Jog falls. I had read in a few places that localities near Jog have a lot of bird activity. But, with no specific clue on where to go, I decided to find out if there were any water bodies around – there was one about a kilometre and a half towards Sagar, on the left side of the highway.[...] read more

On the Sea Eagle’s trail

On the Sea Eagle’s trail

Devbagh which literally means ‘Celestial Garden’ was the destination we picked for a stop-over during our Coastal Karnataka trip. I had heard about the pristine beauty of the Devbagh Resort from earlier visitors.

Karwar, a small town near the Karnataka-Goa border looks very rustic. It is known to have been a part of the vibrant trade network during the colonial era. Karwar raised the waves of creativity in the mind of a young Tagore inspiring him to put pen on paper and author Prakritir Pratishodha – story of a Sanayasi and a young girl.[...] read more

stay@matthuga – a lovely homestay

stay@matthuga – a lovely homestay

I was looking for a decent accommodation near Jog falls for a family trip. There were not many options available. The choice finally was stay@matthuga – a homestay near Jog falls. There were mixed reviews on the net, but it looked suitable for our needs.

We landed at matthuga late in the evening after spending time at Jog falls. We were greeted by some sunbirds and bulbuls. The small garden in front of the building looked beautiful in the evening sun. It was very quiet, but for the bird activity. The first impression was good.[...] read more

Naturalist Training Program – some random thoughts

Naturalist Training Program – some random thoughts

I have always had a fascination for nature and the immense variety it offers. Usually the enjoyment that I derive is superficial – a state of ‘ignorant bliss’. It isn’t all that bad, I should say. But the desire to understand more has always been there. May be that would give me a better appreciation of the ways of nature. It was that search which led me to the Naturalist Training Program (NTP) run by Jungle Lodges. I was quick on the trigger to respond to the invite. Later on, I found out that it was good that I did so, for most participants had tried multiple times before getting a slot which goes on a ‘first come first served’ basis ![...] read more

An amazing collection

An amazing collection

I am no connoisseur of paintings, yet it gives me great pleasure in wandering through art galleries. So it was natural that I found the title “1001 paintings you must see before you die” attractive.

What jumps at you from the front cover is the gory severed head of Medusa with her mouth wide open in a “silent, but dramatic scream and her shocked eyes”. But as they say, judge not a book by its cover. What follows inside is a real treat. (The Head of Medusa, Caravaggio 1598)

It is a brilliant collection of extra-ordinary paintings from all around the world. They are spread across various museums, galleries, walls, ceilings and private collections. An opportunity to see them all together is one which should not be missed.[...] read more

A tribute to Border Roads Organisation (BRO)

A tribute to Border Roads Organisation (BRO)

Ladakh is slowly recovering from the devastation which it suffered from the recent natural catastrophe. It is a painful period of rebuilding for the people of Ladakh. The toughest task would probably be for the BRO to rebuild roads.

One needs to visit the Himalayan region to really appreciate the work done by BRO. Ladakh is a cold desert up in the Himalayas posing a terrible challenge to engineers working on developing road networks. The terrain is unfriendly and has extreme weather conditions. These areas would be fully snow covered for almost nine months a year. However, they are of high strategic importance – being the supply route to many defence positions like Siachen.[...] read more

Anderson and Corbett

Anderson and Corbett

Nine man-eaters and one rogue is the first person account of the captivating adventures of the famed hunter Kenneth Anderson. The stories are set in the 30’s and 40’s when Anderson was active chasing and eliminating man eating tigers and leopards in the erstwhile State of Mysore and Presidency of Madras. This book has not caught the attention of the world as much as Man Eaters of Kumaon written by Anderson’s more well-known counterpart Jim Corbett, whose hunting ground was the Kumaon region on the Himalayan slopes.[...] read more

Marine National Park – Narara

Marine National Park – Narara

The word “National Park” brings to mind pictures of large mammals and tropical forests for most of us. At best it may extend to a bird sanctuary. What we usually forget it that India has a mainland coastline of 6000 km. If we add islands as well it will stretch much more. Coastal regions contribute significantly to India’s bio diversity.

Marine National Park in the Gulf of Kutch is one of the very few of its kind in India. It is located in the southern part of Gulf of Kutch in Jamnagar district (Gujarat). It consists of several islands and is filled with sandy beaches, coral reefs and mangroves. Pirotan island is the best known (relatively speaking !) of the lot.[...] read more

Remembering Porbandar

Remembering Porbandar

October is the right time to recollect a trip to Porbandar, a small port town in the Kathiawar region. Kathiawar is a peninsula in the Saurashtra Region of Gujarat. The only reason why we had a stop there was that it was the birthplace of Gandhiji. Later I realised that Sudama – famous friend of Krishna was also from this place.

We reached Porbandar by road from Dwaraka. It was a nice 3 hour drive in the morning. This little town stands frozen in history. One gets the feeling that the time is somewhere in the early 20th century when you look around. A quick drive through the narrow, dusty lanes brought us in front of an entrance – the gateway to the Gandhi museum and the house where Gandhiji was born.[...] read more


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