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September 2019

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India is a beautiful place of diversity. From culture to food habits, religion to locales – our country is vivid. It is a gem for travel enthusiasts. For every season, you will find a proper place to go and relax and learn something new about our great culture.

In today’s blog, I will write about those places that are famous for their boating. Boating is a leisure time activity when you go to travel somewhere. You can paddle yourself or hire a bigger steamboat to roam around the beautiful lakes and other water bodies. The painters, poets, or writers will get an extra boost romanticizing the breath-taking view and cool breeze of these places.

Here is the list of some famous boating paradise you can go and enjoy.

Ganga Ghat, Varanasi
Ganga Ghat
Image Source – Google

Our ancestors said that nothing is purer than the water of the Ganges or Gangajaal. This holy river is worshipped by followers across the country. However impure one can be – with just a sprinkle of Gangajaal – that person or for that matter, any object is sanctified.

This river is older than our country perhaps and Varanasi is one of the oldest cities in the world. So, if you are visiting Varanasi – then, don’t just walk through the narrow lanes, enter the countless temples, and taste the local delicacies. Also, go to the Ganga Ghats and enjoy a boat ride. The sunrise and sunset timings are the best ones to seek the blessings of this river. Remember that from mid-July to mid-October, the prices of the boats remain high due to more current in the water. The view of this old city from mid-water is spectacular. The boat rides also halt for you to visit the nearby market and visit the Durga Mandir built two centuries ago. Yamaha Engine Boats costs INR 3000 for two hours of the ride. The boating services start from 8 A.M. and continues till 5:30 P.M.

Naini Lake, Nainital:
Naini Lake
Image Source – Google

Nainital is one of the most famous tourist destinations in this country. The name of the lake is Naini and Tal means lake which is why the city is named Nainital. Boating is mostly seen as a summertime activity and that’s why most of the crowds are seen here during the summer months. The interesting fact is the shape of this lake resembles an eye and that’s why the name is Naini. The boating services start at 6 A.M. and continues till 6 P.M. You can also rent a yacht here.

While riding the boat – you will feel how small you are in the vastness of the lofty Kumaon ranges and the gleaming water.

Kumarakom Backwaters, Kerala:
Kumarakom Backwaters
Image Source – Google

This one is perhaps the most famous in the country. The view of the dense greenery and refreshingly cool water attracts people here in Kerala backwaters. A small town named Kottayam in Kerala receives thousands of footfalls in peak seasons. The most popular thing here is the houseboat. The short stay here in houseboats breaks the monotony of the normal fast-paced life. The disease-free and toxin-free air that you inhale here will rejuvenate the senses in your body and you will return with an energetic mind at work. For the boat cruises or rides, you must get the booking done in advance to avoid unnecessary rush. The most exciting part is these houseboats are fully built with eco-friendly materials. And in case you are staying overnight, the houseboats will remain stationary from 6:00 P.M. till 7:00 A.M., the next day. Depending on the number of rooms you book on the houseboats, the prices will vary. But still, it may cost you anything between INR 9000 and 12000.

Nakki Lake, Mount Abu:
Nakki Lake
Image Source – Google

Mount Abu is a renowned hill station located in the Aravallis. Nakki Lake is a famous tourist spot there and you should not miss the boating service here. As per the legendary stories, the Gods dug out this lake with their fingers and nails while seeking protection from the demons. Nakki Lake is also told to be the first man-made lake that is 11000 meters deep and a quarter of a mile wide. Another famous fact about this lake is that Mahatma Gandhi’s ashes were immersed here in this lake. While you boat around this lake, you will get to see the hill-station in its enchanting best. You can also enjoy the view of Toad Rock on a hill nearby where the rocks are strangely shaped like toads. Moreover, you can enjoy the local dishes too here. The boating services start from 9:30 A.M. and continues till 6 P.M.

Dal Lake, Srinagar:
Dal Lake
Image Source – Google

No blogs on boating can be complete without mentioning the “heaven on earth”. Like always, the breath-taking view of Dal Lake still fascinates even when there is unrest in the state. From old Bollywood to today’s Instagram pages – you must have come across millions of pictures of this place. The beauty of this place is mesmerizing and you will believe that no pictures can do justice to its beauty. The awe-inspiring panoramic view of the lush green landscapes surrounding the lake, the cool and patient ripples forming on the lake waters, or the floating flowering garden – there are millions of reasons to visit this place and enjoy this boat ride. So, rent the famous Shikaras (houseboats of Srinagar) made from Deodar woods and take a ride to tourist spots like Shalimar Garden, Hazratbal Mosque, or Nishat Garden, etc. You can enjoy your boating between 8 A.M. and 6:30 P.M. An hour-long boat ride may cost you up to INR 4000.

Crossing the sweltering summer season, when the monsoon arrives, it relieves us with a cool breeze, nostalgic smell of mud-soaked in the rain, imaginative cloudy sky, and a soothing atmosphere. Nature outside wears the skin of unpredictability and looks like an artist’s paint book. Like all seasons, this season also has its favourite food types. But, if you look closely, you will see that the food cravings for monsoon season have similarities with the winter season. That’s probably because of the temperature drop and milder weather. Whatever the reason it is, there is a beautiful satisfying feeling of enjoying a platter of hot and spicy food with the sight of rain outside.

Here is a list of those food items which India loves to savor during the monsoon season.

Ginger Tea:
Ginger Tea
Image Source – Google

A hot cup of ginger tea is common in all seasons but during the monsoon days (and also winter), the craze for it rises. Ginger has medicinal values and all the diseases that arise during rainy seasons like stomachache, fever, or cold are treated by it. That’s why the demand for a cup of ginger tea is more when it is raining outside. The weather remains unpredictable in this season – the temperature drops down (relieving the scorching sun rays) but at the same time the humidity stays intact. Many daily commuters get drenched in rain while going or coming back from work or school. This ginger tea surely helps.

For the tea lovers – they get another excuse to have more tea along with snacks and enjoy the view of the beautiful nature outside.

Fritters:
Fritters
Image Source – Google

Onion, potatoes, or chilies are dipped in a batter of gram flour mixed with spices and then deep-fried in refined oil or mustard oil. Along with a cup of tea, these fritters are a must all over India to enjoy a party or simply as an evening snack shared with family members. If you take a look at any regular Maharashtrian home, you will find the wild greens like Shewla and Phodshi turned into fritters. The leaves of colocasia are also fried with besan in many parts of the country and savoured well.

Some prefer to have them with mint chutney, schezwan sauce, tomato sauce, mustard sauce, or plain curd. Then there are some people like me, who relishes these fritters with daal-chawal (lentils & rice). But I guess nothing can match up to the spirit and essence of Moong Daal ke pakode with mint chutney.

Khichdi:
Khichdi
Image Source – Google

Monsoon is incomplete without a plate of Khichdi. I have seen the craze of tea and fritters all over North India during the rainy days but back in my West Bengal, I have seen rather grown up in the atmosphere of Khichdi-some monsoon. Moong and Masoor daal (types of lentils) are mixed with rice grains along with all the seasonal vegetables (beans, capsicum, carrots, peas, cauliflower, potatoes, pumpkin, etc.). It is served with a generous amount of Ghee or clarified butter. Also, comes along is a whole platter of fried things – onion fritters, brinjal fry, pumpkin flower fry, potato fry, coconut fry (with a pinch of salt, turmeric, and sugar), spicy cabbage, fried fish especially Hilsa, etc. I terribly miss being at home during monsoon only for the huge love for food.

Hilsa:
Hilsa
Image Source – Google

The Bengalis cannot leave their love for fish. The biggest reason why Bengalis love monsoon in spite of all the atrocities in towns and cities of Bengal is that this is the season of the “king of fishes” Hilsa. The Ganges of West Bengal or the Padma of East Bengal (Bangladesh) – both bless this community with an amazingly tasty fish. The price in this season sometimes reaches up to 22000 also. This fish is simply fried or made into various gravy items with mustard, coconut milk, or curd. With a plate of rice, this fish takes the Hilsa lovers to heaven – literally!

My grandfather taught me to enjoy Hilsa with Khichdi – and this combination is also worth a try.

Corn:
Corn
Image Source – Google

Available everywhere in India during the monsoon months, this is a popular evening snack. The corns are taken out of its cover and roasted in high heat generously. Then a dash of black salt and lemon is applied to it. Some prefer to have boiled corns while some prefer the crispy corns which are stir-fried with onions, tomatoes, and capsicum. In any form – corns taste amazing.

Aloo Tikki Chaat:
Aloo Tikki Chaat
Image Source – Google

Your mom and grandma must be telling you not to have chaat outside. But do you know how blissful is it to enjoy the chaats when it is raining outside? The Aloo Tikki chaat with mint chutney, curd, and chaat masala is very dear to all. In some shops, this aloo Tikki chaat is available with black grams also. The stomach may ache later but don’t worry there is medicine for that.

Samosa:
Samosa
Image Source – Google

The fame of this triangle-shaped snack is huge. As a breakfast item or as an evening snack– the crunchy and tasty samosas are dipped in mint chutney, imli chutney, tomato sauce, etc. and savoured. It comes in a variety of fillings – potatoes, peas, paneer (cottage cheese), cauliflower, noodles, soybeans, corns, etc. The joy of having Samosa doubles in the monsoon and of course that is supported by a cup of tea.

Alun Dento:
Alun Dento
Image Source – Google

This one is a famous dish among the Mangalorean Catholics. It is a coconut-based curry made with green amaranth stalks, Colocasia stems, and hog plums. It is a seasonal specialty and is cooked for the feast of the birth of the Virgin Mary.

Malabar Coffee:
Malabar Coffee
Image Source – Google

Do you know there is something called Malabar Coffee? During the monsoon season, this Malabar Coast sees harvested coffee beans. They are exposed to moisture-laden monsoon air for at least 6 weeks. The coffee beans then swell up, lose some of their acidity, and obtain that signature mellow notes. With some fritters or simple biscuits – this cup of coffee is a prized possession I must say.

Which one among these is your favourite? Whichever it is, I hope you all are enjoying the drizzling season with a sizzling platter.

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