Weekend Getaways in Pangot, Uttarakhand; Bangalore, Karnataka & Goa

The white-throated laughing thrush night be hard to spot but, you’ll hear it, for sure
Image courtesy: Vaibhav Mehta

Words SAMARPAN BHOWMIK

Get up close with nature’s colourful ambassadors in Pangot, Uttarakhand
Out of Delhi (300km)
Most folks might not have heard of the tiny village of Pangot in the Shivalik Range of Uttarakhand, but serious birders from across the world certainly have. The mountain range itself is home to 250 species of birds, and the chirping in this sleepy little village is (sound) evidence enough. Even the villagers are mindful of the feathered inhabitants of the region; you’ll notice many houses are designed with space provided for nests. Among the species you’ll spot in Pangot are the bar-tailed treecreeper, the endangered grey-crowned prinia, the bee-eater, the bulbul, the oriental turtle dove, the plum headed parakeet and the spotted owl. You’ll find them at the Kilbury Bird Sanctuary, Cheena Peak (Naini Peak) or Woodpecker Point, where five different varieties of that bird have been spotted. We’d recommend taking the Timla Pani trail, which passes rhododendron, oak and neem trees, quaint local houses and, of course, many, many birds. If you aren’t a seasoned birder yet, hire a guide – they will serve as your eyes. Or base yourself at the Jungle Lore Birding Lodge; they offer customised guided tours . Importantly, carry a pair of powerful binoculars, and clothing that blends in with the surrounding forest. End a day of birding with the sunset from the lodge’s wooden balcony, and, if you’re lucky enough, in the company of the lovely animals on the property.

Indulge your taste buds in Bangalore, Karnataka
Bangalore is one of the places that best showcases India’s extraordinary street-food culture. Brightly-painted food trucks are common across the city, from Manyata Tech Park to Whitefield, Kamanahalli and Indiranagar. You can find everything from appams to Lebanese falafel at reasonable prices. There’s even North Indian cuisine on offer; try the parathas and chaat at Foodipa in Manyata Tech Park . For a taste of western food, head to The Lalit Food Truck Company in the same area, which serves fries, burgers and chicken wings (from `80). But don’t fill up on just food. The city is reputed for its breweries and you need to get a taste. Start the booze crawl at Prost, with its fairy lights . Those who like it light would appreciate the fruit cider while those who like more body would prefer the Burnt Stone stout. For a retro feel, head to either Brewsky  or Murphy’s Brewhouse . You’ll definitely need a long walk before sleeping after this day of pigging out.

Take on a canyon in Netravalli Wildlife Sanctuary, Goa
Deep in the heart of South Goa lies Netravalli Wildlife Sanctuary. Aside from the wildlife, there’s something in the depths of the jungle that would attract many: canyoning – a combination of walking, abseiling, wading and swimming, scrambling, jumping and sliding down slopes. You need an experienced guide, and they’ll equip you with helmet, harness, wet suit, water bottle and med kit. Hit up Goa Jungle Adventure for government-certified guides and itineraries  visit website for guide and tour costs; sanctuary  `  You’ll need to be reasonably fit and sign a consent form. The Upper Sauri Canyoning Trail is 3km long, and you’ll be taken there in a jeep. The path is at a 75° incline. You’ll know where you stand on fitness within a few minutes of getting started; don’t worry, the guides allow breaks. The path leads to a cliff overlooking the Sauri River. You’ll have to conquer this canyon at the expense of a few nicks and scratches. Rappel down the sheer wall towards gushing water and feel the adrenaline rush to your head. You might even encounter some local fauna on the way, but it’s harmless for the most part. And, as you get to the river, the end of the beginners’ course, the sense of accomplishment will be unparalleled.

Get up close with nature’s colourful ambassadors in Pangot, indulge your taste buds in Bangalore, and take on a canyon in Goa with LPMI’s February 2020 issue. Pick up a copy from your newsstand or click to subscribe via Zinio or Magzter.