I did not know Kangra Fort
was so close to Dharamshala
Glad to have made this visit
to that time in history.
Now, I am more intrigued about
these headless statues that find room
in all museums across India.
State museum’s in India are pretty standard
and this was no different .
There is the pre-history gallery
and the anthropology gallery
followed by mannequins
in traditional attires.
The exhibit does not do justice to the
rich culture and history of these places.
Often times, the information is also not updated
For instance the architectural and sculptural map of India
does not include any of the monuments from the Northeastern states.
It feels careless
museum after museum
we never update ourselves and
it spoils the museum-going experience…
The trip to the Imperial City in Huế
was highly recommended by our local friends.
It was an impressive fortified city of the Nguyen emperors
but these national treasures have been destroyed by the wars in Vietnam.
Nonetheless, it was still very royal
and gave the impression of a grand palace
as it would’ve existed back in the day…
Although the auto driver took us first to the State Museum,
we refused to enter because we did not have enough time
and state museums are often big disappointments.
So, we went to the tribal museum
and found ourselves wanting to spend the whole day there.
To begin with,
I did not know
that Utkal University had
an anthropology department
established as early as 1958.
Although I was reluctant to enter
one cannot not enter
after seeing the welcome mural
at their entrance.
Besides the usual university museum artefacts,
their museum was super impressive
because they had actually excavated
three human skeletal remains
which was also on display.
When you decide to extend your layover and hop cities to make the most of your weekend you experience more than what your in-flight magazine says.
Day 1: Woke up to a bright and sunny Bhubaneswar. So we stepped outside for breakfast and what better way to start the day than idli, vada, chop mix and some fresh coconut water.
Museum of Tribal Arts & Artefacts, Bhubaneswar was the top choice (thanks to lonely planet ) and it did not disappoint us. The past few weeks, I had been learning about tribes in Orissa so I was already familiar with the tribes of the region, and to see their material culture was an added bonus to my understanding of these tribes. We started with the tribal huts and moved from one hut to another as we could notice the variation between the architecture, art and artefacts. One of the interesting bit was the totem pole in front of the Saora hut.
Dalama, Bhubaneswar was our destination for lunch because it served traditional Oriya thali.
Centre of Advanced Study in Anthropology, Utkal University was our next destination and they had the most impressive cultural museum in any Indian university.
Surfing Yogis, Konark have been on my mind for a really long time because I have always wanted to surf and who would not want to camp by the beach? So we made way to their address on google map because the phone numbers were not working and we could not communicate before hand. But it turned out to be a bit of a disappointment as their camp site looked shady and the tents were dirty and they were charging very high for a night’s halt. So we made way to Puri instead.
Jagannath Temple, Puri is one of the major Hindu pilgrimage sites in India. It is a sweet place -literally. There are varieties of sweet shops all over the streets and the shops nearby. Since it is a temple town, the priests need their cows, which means milk, which eventually becomes sweets (to shorten the long story). Unfortunately my sweet tooth disappeared for the evening so I opted for tea instead. The only thing I missed was the cheesecake mentioned by lonely planet (which I didn’t get to taste, and got made fun of by my friends).
Puri Beach was crowded but it was so good to hear the waves. It was equally fun to see people enjoying the activities on the beach. There were camels, sand artists, vendors, couples, families and just travellers by the beach. The best part however was the sea food bonanza that we devoured and savoured till we had to stop. If only we had access to all that sea food with that price on a daily basis 🙂
Day 2: Woke up feeling like we were on vacation. Because our mini detour from Surfing Yogis landed us at this place with a pool. The palm trees and the blue sky certainly had that holiday effect so we were only eager to start the day.
Model Beach, Puri had a very calm and soothing atmosphere. There were a few palm trees and camels making it seem like we were probably somewhere in Dubai or so. It was clean and quiet except for the crashing waves (and we did not mind that). Figures it is also part of the sustainable community-run beach tourism initiative.
Waterfront Grill Cafe, Konark was where we lunched and feasted on some wine and mullet fish. The chef was a friendly fellow who would make his rounds to the different tables and asked people how they liked their food. This personal touch probably made the eating experience more enjoyable.
Ramachandi Beach, Konark was absolutely stunning. It was another of those hidden beaches where no one frequents. It is for the select few who have managed to venture to its shores and I could only be so very thankful for our time there. Swimming in the sea, jumping with the waves and witnessing the most humbling sunset as the fishermen wrapped their lucks for the day was sheer bliss.
Lobster was discussed during lunch and the chef prepared a lovely lobster dinner for us.
Day 3: The plan was to go to Chandrabhaga beach for sunrise but we went back to Ramachandi beach and glorious would be an understatement to describe the morning beauty. With few people on the beach and waves that were softer than the previous evening, I had to do a cartwheel to celebrate the day 😉
Konark Sun Temple, Puri is an archaeological monument at its best. It is one of UNESCO’s world heritage sites and has tourists thronging from all parts of the country. The stone structures and carvings tells stories of life, love, lifestyle, belief, death that Tagore even went on to say that the “language of stone surpasses the language of man” in this place.
Book Festival at Janata Maidan was waiting for us when we got back to Bhubaneswar. And we ended up buying about ten books to end our weekend affair.