Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Travel: Alibaug,Kihim beach stay at Mango Beach house

Hello people,
After a looong time we are back. Ganpati, Diwali festivities left us tired. So we went for a short 2day vacation to Alibaug. We were 3couples with my 1.5year old kiddo. So we were looking for someplace with proximity to the beach, away from crowds, food on call, a place to just chill no sight seeing, roaming around. So we shortlisted Alibaug, Kihim beach. My hubby's favourite website for hotel bookings: showed us this homestay called The Mango Beach house. It is a part of a group of Hotels. Tripadvisor gave good reviews.

It is in the interior of Alibaug & the drive goes on & on through small dirt roads. So you can be confused if you are lost or will ever see the hotel. But thankfully you see it, a gate among fields and village houses.

The Main Attraction for us:
1) The beach was 5mins walking distance from the hotel
2) There was indoor swimming pool & bar.
3) Their spa was well recommended for.

What I loved more about the hotel:
1) Free Wifi available only around the pool, so no cooping in your room & working !
2) There were no phones, so if you need something get yourself out of the room or use your mobile phone.
3) There wasn't a Watch in sight, so just chill and stop thinking about time, work, tasks.

Entrance to Mango Beach House
It is a warm, cozy, peaceful place. Its surrounded by Mango (that's where it gets it name from) and coconut trees.  The staff limited and friendly. Out to help you as much as they can.

The dining cum Reception area
Totally it has 8 rooms and 2 suites. We had booked 3 double room with full board that is all meals and boarding. Since my family was not keen on roaming around we just chilled around the hotel.

The rooms around the dining area

The rooms around the pool

The pool and bar.

The spa building
The spa therapies were truly relaxing & rejuvenating. One by one all the family members got at least one massage done.

The website says its design and layout is of Mediterranean style and with minimal changes to existing structures and trees. We liked it, spartan and clean. Good for our kid to run around with hurting himself or damaging something.
A small porch for all rooms with these huge chairs
A clean, cozy room
The rooms are spacious, well ventilated. They make you feel at home instead of being over the top types.
Open bathrooms
The bathrooms are superb, Huge, those old British colonial style fittings, airy & lots of sunlight.

A just vacated suite. Just a bigger room
And private balcony
The food was lovely for vegetarians too, if you think it being a coastal village will only have fish & non veg food. The kitchen staff tried very hard to make the food compatible for all. There was: us 6 1/2 and another family of 4. We had a kid and an American guest, but we shouldn't have worried coz the chef made the food mildly spicy and tasty. Also they made lovely snacks for us in the evening to enjoy besides the pool with drinks. Me being a chai person loved their morning and evening chai's. Our American guest enjoyed the pastas we ordered and their biryani, pav bhaji and some delicious desserts.
Those lounge chairs were superb to recline on, listening to the birds and water. 
Some recreational game of pool
A swing set and hammock to laze around

There were a couple of wells around this property. This one had a family of turtles, not seen in this pic
Our family chilling at the bar in the evening.
The dinning area. Everything bathed in warm colours to give a Mango & cheerful feel
The friendly staff and my kiddo who loved their food, so he is out checking if dinner is served
Bright lights around, so neednt worry if you are scared of creepy crawlies

We had checked the beach the day we came. You just step out of the back gate of the hotel cross a couple of houses, follow your ears and a dirt road, whola you are on the beach.

On the last day, I got up at 6am to catch the sunrise and some photography of the place.
As promised 5mins to the beach
Kihim beach nothing else
I was late, the sun already up & shining
Sand/Wave roots? Work of waves on sand
On my way back, took a different route deeper into the village.
Old village setting
Reminds me of our house at my native place
The hotel is converting such old houses around the property into rooms
-Lots of mosquitoes, the place is surrounded by trees. The hotel staff takes efforts to put mosquito coils wherever possible, but do use Odomos or a repellent
-Take your own vehicle. If you have a driver, dont worry he will be well taken care by the hotel staff.
-If you want to go sightseeing, be prepared to travel. There is nothing around Kihim. The hotel gives a brochure with all the things you can do in Alibaug, but they are all far from Kihim beach.

So in all 2 nights, 3days flew by beautifully. We loved everything about the place.
Hope to do more such getaways to recharge ourselves. Hope you try The Mango Beach House soon.

Let us know your vacation stories.

Bye. Take care until next time.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Festival: Gokulashtami or Dahi Handi, 2014

 Good day ppl !

Dahi Handi at RCF Chembur. Human pyramid to break the curd filled pot at height
Check my post for Janmashtami, 2011 I had such different views about the festival 3 years ago.

Gokulashtami/Janmashtami or Dahi handi as in popularly called in Maharashtra this year was on 18th Aug 2014, Monday.
Lot of people having a holiday on Friday 15th Aug & Monday 18th Aug were delighted with the loong weekend.

Gokulashtami celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna. It is celebrated the earlier day & night. At 12am, everywhere people celebrate the birth of the Kanha. There are all night jaagrans & hymn singing sessions in temples.
The next day, is Dahi handi. This is to depict the curd stealing by Lord Krishna or Nandan as he is called with so many names. Krishna could enthral & captivate people with his smile, guileless behaviour, endear himself to all, tease the gopika's who couldn't resist his charm, make mischief with his friends by stealing butter.

Handi at Chembur naka. One of the highest prize money handi in Chembur
The Dahi handi festival is celebrated as a person who is Govinda or a group of people called Govinda pathak, form a human pyramid to reach a pot filled with Dahi (curd) hung very high & break it. These govinda's are drenched by people with water to foil their attempts. Any pathak can try their hand at breaking the handi. The winning team gets the prize money. So these pathak's are seen touring the city from early morning till late at night. There are now all-women pathak, who are encouraged.

The govinda pathak's touring the city, at Mahim

This festival is more popular in Maharashtra & Mumbai. Now it is getting more mileage due to participation & support from political parties.

The Govinda pathak practise for this day months in advance. The height of the Handi is increasing day by day & also the prize money.

Some are friendly & having fun. Seeing me with camera, waved !

The hooliganism on this day reaches a high. Youngsters part of these Govinda pathak's travelling by trucks,bikes harass, tease ladies & girls. Most of them are drunk.
How they think they can be Kanha's teasing the gopika's is beyond sane imagination?

The pyramid has many layers.Children are made to be at the top of the pyramid as they are light & nimble. When the pyramid crashes, lot of people get hurt.

The high court had passed a ruling, not to let people below 18 years be part of the pyramids. Days before the festival the Supreme court made changes by lowering the age limit to 12 years.

Hope the festival doesnt turn more ugly as its getting these days.

More Indian festival posts:
Gudi Padva
Divyachi Amavasya
Janmashtami, 2011
Ashadi Ekadashi

Bye. Take care.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Whats that pic-40

Good day ppl !
15th August, Independence day is over but people are still greeting Belated Independence day !
Are we really independent ?

This quote at St. Michelle Church sums up what true Independence means:

True independence exists in doing what is right, St. Michelle Church
More posts of quotes at St. Michelle church :
New Year
Whatsapp Panic

Check out more such thought-provoking Picture posts at our
Whats that pic series

Enjoy ! Do What is Right !
Bye. Take care :)

Friday, August 8, 2014

Food: Status restaurant, Mahim west

Good day Ppl !
Food review here. For Lunch out we colleagues  decided to try Status at MahimWest. Its opposite Hinduja Hospital & near Goa Portuguese at MahimWest.

This place was being built some 4 years ago when we used to frequent the area. It seems there are more outlets with this name around Mumbai.

The name mentions Refined Gourmet. Wanted to find out, if it really was.

The restaurant, Grade 1 says plaque outside.
The interiors are ok-ok. They wanted to portray the multi cuisine menu with the ambiance I guess. The waiters were helpful & alert.
They serve Indian, Chinese, Continental and also have a bar.
They have an upper floor seating area too. Didnt need to go up.

We were a group of 6, 4strict vegetarians, 2 coz of the majority & Shravan month. So we settled down with the menu. Everyone today ordered Mocktails

Fruit punch, Mango Blossom & Virgin Mojito
We ordered 3 veg starters. 2 of them were Paneer, very good. Other was Corn quiche turned out to be bland corn cheese balls, the mummies in us complained the ready to eat corn cheese balls from McCain are way better. :D

Paneer dish, hot & spicy. Was yummy.

The starters were filling. We ordered a Paneer sizzler with rice & a Cannelloni Florentine which was a baked dish. The waiter suggested we order another main course dish, so we ordered another sizzler.

The baked dish turned out good, the accompanying Garlic bread was a little burnt. The sizzlers were ok-ok. Turned out we shouldnt have ordered the 2nd sizzler. Had to pack it up.
Also 4 dishes out of 6 we ordered were Paneer ones, for atleast a month no one is going to try Paneer I am sure :D

Lot of space & tables arrangement was good from couple seaters to large groups.

The bill with food & drinks came around 3000Rs. 500per person, is a good enough to shell out for a good eating place near to office.

I am not sure if I will go or not go there next time. Didnt find it too bad nor praise worthy.

More information about this place:
Name: Status
Location: TH Katria Marg, Mahim West, Mahim, Mumbai
Contact number: 02224442121, 02224443538

Want to read more food reviews:
China Bistro, Shivaji Park, Dadar, Mumbai
Chokhdhani, Jaipur
Lassi at Dadar station

Bye people. Take care.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Whats that pic-39

Greetings ppl !

Hello after a long time :)
I rummaged through my weird-pics-collection. Found a lot of them, so this is top most on the list.

Cube Ice, that too Filtered !!!
 This is from our 2nd Wedding Anniversary dinner when hubby dearest in an attempt to salvage the day decided to take me out to Marine Drive & dinner at Pizza Express near Gateway of India.

This tiny shop is in the alley beside the restaurant. Its like a makeshift showcase. This is its backside with the declaration of serving Filtered Ice cubes in Sugarcane juice with Ginger & Lemon.

Odd items on sale
 This is the front, it seems it sells idols, batteries, conchs, .... god knows what else.

Guess its proximity to Gateway of India, makes these items on its Hot selling list.

You can rummage around the Whats that pic series. See what catches your fancy & drop in a comment :)

Whats that pic !

See you around in a bit !
Bye. Take care !!!