Rain and the escape story to the Maachli Homestay | Prajyot Mainkar

It’s not often that people choose to visit Goa during the monsoon season, mainly because Goa’s natural beauty truly shines during these rainy months. The lush green landscapes take center stage, showcasing their dominance in the areas you traverse, as if nature itself is eager to make its presence known.

The monsoon season in Goa is traditionally a time for exploring the surrounding areas, but this time, we decided to do something different. We ventured a little further, crossing the border to discover new landscapes and connect more deeply with nature. During our journey, we stumbled upon a hidden gem called Maachli, nestled in the picturesque western region of India. The drive from Goa to Maachli takes approximately 1.5 to 2 hours, and it’s well worth the journey.

About Maachli – The homestay

Maachli is an eco-friendly farm stay/homestay that provides the luxurious experience of being intimately connected with nature, set amidst a delightful tropical forest, far removed from the chaos of city life. The name seemed somewhat familiar, yet its significance remained quite elusive. Before venturing into the farm, I was determined to clarify this matter. Up to this point, I held the belief that this experience would be worthwhile. As we arrived at the location, the first thing that caught my attention was my mobile network acting up. It was a clear sign that the homestay had no network connectivity. Now, some may wonder, “Why does it matter?” Well, for someone heavily on connectivity for business, this is of utmost importance. The need to stay connected to the outside world is paramount. However, I decided to set this concern aside for the time being and hoped silently, “I hope there’s a network.” Curious, I inquired with someone about the meaning of the name, and they explained that it referred to “huts constructed by farmers to safeguard their farms.”




The walk before the Maachali homestay is about a few minutes but it’s serene. But just a few steps I knew this would be a great chance to relax in the embrace of the natural world. Here, you can immerse yourself in the harmonious melodies of chirping birds, a far more soothing symphony than the cacophony of city traffic. You can also explore the diverse array of plants and flowers, which is infinitely more calming than waiting in long traffic queues.

Before arriving at the Maachali homestay area, you encounter a sturdy wooden bridge designed for single-file passage, offering a picturesque route from one side to the other. It has been quite some time since my last stroll along this pathway. Upon crossing this bridge, you will find a collection of cottages thoughtfully positioned at a safe distance from each other. There are approximately 8-9 identical cottages currently in place, with plans for additional ones in progress.


The wooden bridge

The house is constructed primarily from wood, giving it a distinct appearance compared to typical village houses. These houses are compact in size. As the houses are located on a farm, it’s common to encounter mosquitoes, so they offer mosquito-repellent incense sticks. The bathroom features remarkable antique copper utensils, and the flooring has a nostalgic feel. What stood out was the door, which had a thick sliding latch, reminiscent of those commonly used in the past. The rooms are suitable for 2-3 people, and they also offer extra beds if needed at an affordable price.

What truly caught my attention was the room’s view. There’s a curtain you can pull to block it, but I doubt you’d want to. It offers a breathtaking morning vista, with lush green trees and the soothing sounds of birds acting as your personal wake-up call. I was a bit concerned about my morning tea, wondering if I would receive it. However, to my pleasant surprise, the owners of the Maachali homestay, Prathamesh, and his family, kindly arranged it for me in the morning. When I inquired if this was a regular service, they mentioned that snacks and tea/coffee could be arranged if requested in advance.

After settling into the Maachali homestay, and since it was evening, it was time for snacks, which were included in the package. We were pleasantly served with Bhajiyas and chutney. These weren’t the typical fancy snacks you find in the city but rather a classy rural variation. The chefs were gracious in accommodating our requests. As the number of cottages is limited, the caretakers personally contact each guest. It follows a customary arrangement where all guests gather and socialize in the dining area. From our observations, we noticed tourists coming from Pune, Mumbai, and various western regions of India. Prathamesh’s father is usually very interactive during the visit and ensures the well-being of everyone.

Before we could finish enjoying the Bhajiyas (Yes, we could smell them back in the cottage), what truly caught our attention were the outdoor seating arrangements outside the cottages. These beautifully crafted old-style seats, primarily consisting of cloth and wood, brought back memories of days gone by when we had similar ones. Just by looking at them, I could tell that we would spend some quiet mornings seated there, listening to the soothing stories told by the morning birds, feeling the gentle breeze, and admiring the majestic trees. Evenings could be a bit challenging due to mosquitoes, but the incense sticks proved to be quite useful.


The View

The Couple Chairs

The Lady MasterChefs

It was snack time, and naturally, we congregated in the dining area. Just a few steps away, we found the Kitchen Hut, reminiscent of kitchens from the past. It featured simpler kitchen tools and a rustic setup, with an excessive usage of wood-based cooking and cow dung floors.


The Kitchen Entrance

The entirely female chef team is completely dedicated to assisting you with anything you require from the kitchen. One of the women from the group kindly gave us a tour and allowed us to participate in cooking practices that are still prevalent in many Indian villages. The kitchen is open for use, and they even permit guests to use it for special requests. During our stay, we observed a family cooking pasta, and the women were curious and interested in what was being prepared.


The Lady from the Kitchen

The woman in the photograph guided us through the cooking process. While she was busy preparing the Bhajiyas that were about to be served, she explained the steps and demonstrated how they were made. The sight of the red-hot boiling utensil was somewhat intimidating, but she handled it with great care and precision. It was quite the experience, as they say!

The Bhajiyas were served in the dining area which is another authentic seating area, and a wooden structure with benches. Reminded us of the School days. It’s a self-service area where the helper boys keep placing the items that are ready and you simply have to follow the typical buffet system. A blend of a modern touch. The area is common to all, hence you tend to cross paths with other families that stay at the other cottages.

One of the highlights of the dining system is that Prathamesh and his team inquire about dietary restrictions, and the meals are customized accordingly before you arrive. They are very accommodating when it comes to food preferences. Given our discerning taste buds, we made a special request for mutton for the next day’s lunch through Prathamesh’s father. What we discovered was that Prathamesh’s father traveled nearly 20-30 kilometers to source fresh mutton, and the preparation was exceptional. Typically, these meals are accompanied by Bhakari, a labor-intensive process, but he made sure that the food prioritized quality.


Buffet System



The Dining Setup


The fish plate 🙂

Please excuse my lack of photography skills, but I was so engrossed in the natural surroundings that I didn’t prioritize improving my photography. They offer excellent options for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians. Typically, the meals consist of bread, rice, curry, and some local sweets. The fish they serve is also locally sourced, which is not commonly found in your usual town. It doesn’t take long to realize that food cooked over a wood fire is exceptionally delicious. The cost of the food is typically covered in the price of the stay.

As darkness falls, a profound silence envelops the maachli homestay, broken only by the gentle rush of water and, of course, the sounds of our own talks. The night insects assert their presence, but we usually counter them by lighting agarbattis, which we strategically place near the dining area.

On a different note, by this point, I had already discovered the network situation, and it was a challenge to find even a single bar of signal strength. They did provide us with Wi-Fi, but its coverage was restricted to certain areas. Usually, you wouldn’t receive a network signal in the rooms or the dining area. The best reception could be found just outside the individual cottages. However, staying disconnected from the network turned out to be a wonderful opportunity to truly connect with nature. We could immerse ourselves in the surroundings with the assurance that once my network connection was restored, the notifications would certainly make up for their silence.

The Natural Fish Spa, For Free at Maachli

Nestled in the serene embrace of nature, this enchanting place offers a delightful treat for the senses through its small access to a meandering river. The experience of dipping one’s legs into the backyard stream of water is nothing short of rejuvenating. It’s a moment that allows you to reconnect with the simplicity and beauty of the natural world.


Access to the riverside

As you sit on the riverbank, the gentle current of the water caresses your feet, soothing away the weariness of everyday life. The cool, crystal-clear waters create a refreshing contrast to the warm embrace of the sun. You can feel the stress and worries melt away with each passing ripple.

What truly sets this place apart is the unique Pebble Spa it offers. The riverbed is adorned with smooth, round pebbles, creating a natural and therapeutic surface. As you walk or gently massage your feet over these pebbles, it’s as though nature herself is providing you with a relaxing foot massage. The pebbles stimulate acupressure points, invigorating your senses and leaving you with a sense of tranquility and well-being.

But that’s not all; this place has a special surprise waiting for you beneath the water’s surface.

Natural fish therapy is a fascinating experience you won’t want to miss. It’s a unique sensation, both ticklish and soothing, and it leaves your skin feeling incredibly soft and rejuvenated.


Low depth, easy walk

Whether you’re seeking relaxation, a deeper connection with nature, or just a memorable and unusual experience, this place’s river access, Pebble Spa, and natural fish therapy offer a truly remarkable journey. It’s a reminder that sometimes the most beautiful and therapeutic experiences can be found in the simplicity and purity of nature. Here, you can immerse yourself in the healing embrace of the natural world, allowing all your worries to flow away with the gentle current of the river.



My Favorite Dining place


The exclusive lunch

The owners informed me that just a day before our arrival, this place had been submerged in a flood. There were several broken pieces of wood, and the dining area had even been filled with water. However, thanks to their dedicated efforts, the situation had significantly improved by the time we arrived. While the tables were still slightly damp (which was expected), it didn’t in any way compromise the overall experience. This lunch with my family turned out to be one of the most picturesque ones I’ve ever had. The lush greenery, the expansive sky, and the surrounding water created a stunning backdrop. Isn’t it remarkable? Well, it was in this very place that we savored the delicious mutton dish. Not the same, but got reminded of an experience I had a few years back at Giri Manjas – The best thali of Mangalore

Sachin Tendulkar Celebrating his 50th Birthday at Maachli

I was also told that Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar had his lunch for his 50th Birthday at this very place. He also went on to share his experience on social media.

Sachin Tendulkar’s birthday celebration at Maachli farm stay garnered significant attention, drawing attention to the undiscovered treasures of the Konkan region and the rising popularity of experiential travel. Travel enthusiasts in search of distinctive and immersive journeys are increasingly shifting their focus to unconventional destinations such as Sindhudurg, taking inspiration from the cricket legend’s preference.

Take a look below on the tweet he shared:

More about Maachli

Maachli has been popularly covered by many presses (for example, Travelers of India, Tripoto) and also won awards in the responsible tourism segment. It also has been a MakeMyTrip IFHA (India’s Favourite Homestays Awards) finalist.

There are a few things you can explore such as Parule Bazaar, and Devbag Beach which are closer to this place. In addition, the Sindhudug airport is nearby too.

In case you want to know more about this place, here are the contact details:


Whether you prefer to lose yourself in a favorite book, practice yoga and meditation, engage in meaningful conversations with our hosts, or simply cherish quality time with your loved ones, Maachli is the perfect place to rediscover yourself.


Convenient Online House Tax Payment Services by Goa Panchayats now launched

In an effort to streamline administrative processes and provide convenience to the residents, the Panchayats in Goa have introduced an innovative online platform for house tax payment. This user-friendly service aims to simplify the tax payment process, making it convenient and time-efficient for homeowners in Goa. Gone are the days of standing in long queues or dealing with complex paperwork to pay your house tax. With the newly launched online service by Goa Panchayats, homeowners can now easily fulfill their tax obligations from the comfort of their homes. The online portal offers a range of benefits that make the tax payment process hassle-free. One of the key advantages is the convenience it offers. Homeowners no longer need to take time off from their busy schedules to physically visit the Panchayat office. Instead, they can access the portal anytime and from anywhere, making payments at their own convenience.

This news comes as an extension to the earlier news that was reported by popular media such as Times of India. In the month of February earlier this year, The Department of Panchayats initiated the modernization of its system to enable all 191 panchayats in the state to efficiently collect house tax payments online. Finally, it has come into implementation. The Goa Panchayats have embraced the digital revolution, taking significant strides in modernizing their services and providing residents with an enhanced experience. The online platform seamlessly combines convenience, security, and efficiency, transforming the process of house tax payments in Goa.

How to pay House Tax in Goa?

By visiting the official website, residents can access the dedicated house tax payment portal. Once you visit this page, you will see two options, Guest Login or User Login to pay. If you don’t wish to create an account choose Guest Login. 


Login page

Once you are logged in, you’d need to fill in the details below. Post that, you will see the amount to be paid.  Navigating through the portal is a breeze. The implementation of an automated system empowers the Panchayats in Goa to optimize resource allocation, enabling them to allocate their valuable resources more efficiently to critical tasks. This leads to improved governance and enhanced public services, ultimately benefiting the residents of Goa.


Fill in the details 

Paying house tax in Goa has been made incredibly convenient with the availability of online payment services.  If you own a property in Goa, take advantage of this secure and user-friendly online platform for paying your house tax. Experience the simplicity and convenience of online payments through the new online portal introduced by the Goa Panchayats.

hackathon tips and techniques

10 Hackathon Tips and Techniques| Effective Teamwork in Hackathons | Prajyot Mainkar

After my recent experience as a hackathon jury member, I felt compelled to share my insights on mastering hackathons. In light of this, I have compiled a list of 10 valuable hackathon tips and techniques that can help participants. These recommendations aim to enhance your performance, maximize productivity, and make the most of the hackathon experience. In the early stages of my career, I had the opportunity to participate in intensive hackathons where teams worked tirelessly for 24 to 48 hours to develop innovative solutions. Throughout the past decade, my involvement in startups has led me to advise and support various hackathons. As a result, I frequently receive inquiries about effective team approaches and tips for hackathon success. Drawing from my extensive experience mentoring and guiding groups, I have compiled ten crucial points to consider. However, before delving into those, it’s important to address why I harbor reservations about hackathons.

Speaking as a Jury at my first ever hackathon, 2012

Speaking as a Jury at my first-ever hackathon, in 2012

Why am I not a big fan of Hackathons?

It’s crucial to clarify that my reservations about hackathons do not imply outright opposition. Rather, certain hackathons lack clear directions, which raises concerns. Here are the five main reasons behind my worries regarding the hackathon approach:

  1. Lack of clarity: Determining the purpose and direction of the solution being built can be challenging, particularly when considering team diversity and the associated complexities.
  2. Compressed timeframes: With a limited timeframe ranging from 24 to 72 hours, the pressure to create a solution within such constraints can sometimes compromise its quality.
  3. What comes next? After developing and presenting a solution, what happens next? Many hackathons focus more on the number of participants and projects rather than considering the future of the solutions created. Establishing clarity regarding the next steps is crucial for participants’ motivation.
  4. Intellectual Property: Determining ownership rights over the designed solution can be unclear and complicated, posing potential issues.
  5. Emphasis on winning prize money: It’s best not to dwell on this aspect, as it can overshadow the true purpose of a hackathon.

Hackathons can serve as valuable platforms for gathering early feedback on products or solutions in development and nurturing entrepreneurial spirit. However, it is crucial to approach them with care and address the aforementioned concerns. By doing so, participants can leverage the hackathon platform for the greater good and derive maximum benefit from their involvement.

Coordinating Kumbhathon-hackathons at Nashik organizaed in association with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Coordinating Kumbhathon-hackathons at Nashik organized in association with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). It also was supported by Google, Microsoft, and many more. This was one of the largest hackathons in India.

10 Hackathon tips and techniques | Your Ultimate Guide – Prajyot Mainkar

Before participating in a hackathon, it’s essential to prepare yourself adequately. Here are 10 hackathon tips that you could look at:

  1. Understand the Hackathon: Gain a thorough understanding of the hackathon you plan to participate in. Research the stakeholders, sponsors, and overall objectives of the event. Having a clear grasp of the organizers and their goals will help you align your interests and choose the right hackathon to maximize your experience. Don’t miss to understand the use cases of the hackathon/ hackathon theme.
  2. Build a Strong Team: Form a team of like-minded individuals who possess diverse and complementary skills. Look for teammates who specialize in areas such as design, development, or other relevant expertise. A well-rounded team will enhance collaboration and increase your chances of success during the hackathon.
  3. Focus on the Solution: While technology is important, prioritize the problem you aim to solve. Avoid overcomplicating the technology or framework at the initial stages. Simple solutions can be built using straightforward technology. Once you gain traction, you can always refine and enhance your solution.
  4. Plan and Ideate: Time is limited during a hackathon, so plan your approach systematically. Delegate tasks efficiently and set clear goals to ensure timely completion. Prepare the necessary tools, software, and hardware in advance to minimize time wasted on logistics and maximize your productivity.
  5. Recognize the Importance of Design: Design plays a crucial role and should not be overlooked. It is not solely about technology; instead, it encompasses how the solution is visually and experientially perceived by the customer. Prioritize the end user’s emotions and experience when evaluating the success of your solution.
  6. Embrace a Learning Mindset: ‘Hear’ what Jury has to say. Hackathons provide excellent opportunities for learning and collaboration. Stay open to new ideas, seek feedback from mentors and fellow participants, and be willing to adapt your approach based on the insights and knowledge you acquire during the event. Embracing a learning mindset will help you grow both personally and professionally.
  7. Seek Future Direction Boldly: Don’t limit yourself to building and demonstrating your solution. Take the initiative to ask the organizers or jury about the future scope and potential directions for your project. Embrace the opportunity to inquire shamelessly and gather insights that can guide your next steps.
  8. Focus on the Long Game: While hackathons may have winners, it’s important to remember that they are just one aspect of the event. Don’t let the pursuit of victory be your sole motivation for participation. Instead, approach hackathons as an opportunity to play the long game. They are particularly beneficial for those who aim to build projects quickly and cost-effectively while actively seeking feedback and insights. Embrace the spirit of collaboration and innovation, and congratulate the deserving winners as a gesture of appreciation.
  9. Effective Communication is Crucial: Clear and concise presentation of your idea is paramount. Keep in mind that not every member of the jury may be tech-savvy. They come from diverse backgrounds, so it’s important to communicate in a language that everyone can understand. Utilize visual aids, employ shorter sentences, and create slides that provide a snapshot of your concept. Avoid text-heavy slides, high-tech jargon, and overly complex diagrams, as they can hinder comprehension. Focus less on lengthy explanations and more on demonstrating your solution. Take the jury on a storytelling journey, highlighting the “Problem, Solution, Demo” in a straightforward manner that resonates with them.
  10. Enjoy the Experience: Remember to have fun throughout the hackathon journey. It’s not just about the end result but also about the process of learning, networking, and exploring innovative ideas. Embrace the challenges, make new connections, and enjoy the camaraderie with fellow participants. The joy of the experience will fuel your creativity and make the hackathon truly rewarding.

In case you have liked the points, feel free to share this article with anyone in your network who is willing to participate in a hackathon. Do share your views in the comments below.

Image Credit: Kindel Media

Goa Police Hackathon 2023 organised by Cyber Crime of Goa Police

About Goa Police Hackathon

Cyber Crime of Goa Police recently signed MoUs with several colleges from Goa and one of the associations they have been working on has been building solutions that can help the department simplify the workflow. This was made possible by having Goa Poilice Hackathon. Recently I had an opportunity to be one of the Jury for the Goa Police Hackathon organized by the Cyber Crime of Goa Police in association with the Goa Engineering College. The solution theme was to help the Beat officers of Goa in the collection of data and information during the site visits. Roughly 300+ Beat officers from Goa travel each day on the field, collecting the data.

Experience at the Goa Police Hackathon

As a jury member for the police hackathon, I had the incredible opportunity to witness firsthand the innovative ideas and solutions presented by talented students of Goa Engineering College at the Goa Police Hackathon. The experience was both exciting and enlightening as I had the privilege of evaluating a wide range of creative projects aimed at addressing challenges faced by law enforcement.

The dedication and passion displayed by the participants were truly inspiring, as they showcased their technical skills and problem-solving abilities to develop cutting-edge solutions. With several No-code and low-code platforms, it has indeed been easy for developers to build solutions that can help the Govt officials. What was exciting to see was the majority of the students focused on the design of the web and mobile apps. 90% of the solutions built were mobile-first and a few were having backend controllers to manage the reporting.

From predictive crime analytics to data reporting platforms, the ideas presented at the Goa Police Hackathon were not only impactful but also reflected a deep understanding of the complex issues faced by law enforcement agencies. It was truly heartening to witness the potential for technology to positively transform the field of policing. As a jury member, I thoroughly enjoyed engaging with the participants, discussing their ideas, and appreciating their hard work. The experience left me with a renewed sense of optimism and a belief in the power of innovation to make our communities safer and more connected.



One with Nidhin Vaslan Sir - North GOa SP

One with Nidhin Vaslan Sir – North Goa SP at the Goa Police Hackathon


It was an Honor to share the Jury space along with the SP of North Goa Shri. Nidhin Valsan sir and had the privilege to discuss the implementation of these ideas at the department. Not often you stumbled upon officials who are well-versed with implementation and key focus on the process. We discussed how the hackathon products can be further nurtured to be taken to the next level.


Playing with your brain in 10 sec trick – you’ll be shocked

Playing tricks with your mind is very easy and Optical illusions are ideal for making your brain spin. They can particularly make it challenging for some while still retaining the essence of fun and how you can be tricked by some great work by artists. Here is one such illusion, which also is one of my favorites. Let me show you a classic illusion that would make your brain go in circles.

Let’s play the game

Here’s what you need to do. Watch the image below and tell me what you see. No second chance. You have just 10 seconds.


Image Source: Gavin Buckingham

Let’s get to the reality now. Did you see Squares?  You aren’t alone and have been tricked by illusion work by Anthony Norcia, a vision scientist and professor (Research) in Psychology at Stanford. Now go back, take a little longer, and see if you see circles instead of squares. You may take a little longer to spot them. What did you see now? 16-circles. Here’s how you’ll see it.


What makes you see Squares?

The majority of people spot squares than circles because it makes our mind sees the image as coffers i.e a series of sunken panels in the shape of a square in a ceiling, soffit, or vault. This illusion is known as the Coffer Illusion, as that’s what people see when they look at it first.

What’s interesting about this illusion is that, once you have spotted the circles, you’ll always see circles. Very interesting to see how conscious parts of your brain now take the information in a different manner.

The fact of the matter is, that this illusion actually created ambiguous stimuli with more than one interpretation in the mind. Due to this, it now troubleshoots your visual system to resolve this information in multiple ways. But since our brain’s strong tendency is to identify objects as they see, many see it as a Rectangle, due to the lines that form edges and fill colors making it look closer to a rectangular imprint in the brain. For instance, you probably would see more rectangular-like objects in day-to-day life than circles. For instance, the phone, tablets, door panels, display panels, TV displays, and many more.

More about Coffer Illusion

A brain by Anthony Norcia is a popular visual trick to spin your mind. This illusion was debuted as a finalist in the 2006 Best Illusion of the Year Contest. This contest was aimed to spread awareness of new Cognitive research, especially highlighting the Psychedelic experience (often knowns as tripping, conducted by the Neural Correlate Society (NCS). This non-profit organization aims to promote research into the areas of the neural basis of perception and cognition.

What an interesting case study by Prof. Anthony to depict the most obvious choice by the brain using visual cues ( by spotting edges and then interpreting them as Rectangles). This shows how the majority of people’s brain is heavily geared toward identifying objects.



Giri Manjas – The Best Thali of Mangalore

Do you remember when was the last time you sat at a desk and table-alike seating for having your meal? Giri Manjas is all about the rustic experience with a distinctive meal. Situated in the narrow lanes of Mangalore City, this place is not unknown amongst the locals. If you are a tourist, you might want to know that there’s no parking around this place. Taking a rickshaw is the simplest and most budget solution.

Right time to Visit Giri Manjas?

There’s no a particular time when it’s not crowded is what I have been told. Once you are in the place, you’ll be tested for your patience. On a typical day, lunch is very crowded, and no prior booking of seats. People flocking to the hotel which has no waiting area. You’ll need to stick around the door pathway to catch your attention even for reserving a spot. Our patience was tested for nearly 30mins but that was more than sufficient to find what are the most popular dishes people order. A good amount of parcels were placed on the table, probably to be delivered at the home. But we didn’t want to go by that route.

The seating and the Experience at Giri Manjas

All thanks to the ‘we are a tourist’ face, we were guided by a butler from Giri Manjas into the innermost area of this hotel which gave us a broader picture of how this place is. Don’t expect any fancy seating or any other arrangements. Thankfully on this given day, it was pouring rain and it was cool. This place has just a cooler and Fans to snooze the heat.


Giri Manjhas Room


It is an old-authentic house converted into a massive eatery that can house 35-40 people at a time. The seating is just like a long desk with a bench, a standard popular menu, and serving help. The majority of the people there were originally from the city or knew the local language, we didn’t. So we stuck to Hindi and ordered what we thought would be a popular meal.


The serve-helper and the set up of the restaurant

Being natively from Goa, there’s no dearth of Fish and Fish variations. Giri Manjhas is famous for the Anjal, and prawn fries and we had no hesitation in going for the same.  Below is what the thali looks like, with kinda unlimited serving. The lady in the above picture helped us in explaining every component of the plate.

Not many times do you find them so passionate about the work and she seemed to be thoroughly enjoying the work. She focused on everyone in that room to ask if they need anything else from what was served. It’s a great life lesson to learn how to be happy in what you love or the work you are assigned, to deliver with the highest quality. 

You can call for extra items from the plate without any charges. Thali was a great start for us and what followed next was one of the best.

Best picks from Giri Manjas

We went lean with our choices. Thali and a side plate for fish. The prawn’s fry and Anjal were delicious and quite different from what we have in Goa or other parts of India.


The thali-like setup

The red thick gravy makes it special and it’s spicy. Prawns were Rawa fried and were extremely fresh. The place is decently hygienic and the hotel staff ensures it’s kept that way. Overall this place was a great visit.


Doesn’t it look awesome?

Obviously due to the smaller seating space, while eating you have people waiting in and around the area of dining, essentially to grab your seat after you are done. That’s the annoying thing, but that’s fine as long as you get food that’s worth every penny. Speaking about the price, it’s slightly on the higher side where in you spend anywhere between INR 900-1000 for 2-3 people.

Keeping all that aside, Giri Manjhas is not about just a place, it is an experience you live swinging into the olden style of eating. I would highly recommend visiting this place for sure.

    • What You Should Try? – Anjal and Prawns Fry besides the Thali
    • Location of Giri Manjhas: Link To Google Map

P.s: In case you are in Mangalore, I’d highly recommend visiting one of the rare Jain temples in India – The Varanga Jain Temple– around a 2-hour drive from this place.


Largest Free Kitchen the Golden Temple Free Sikhism and Langar Tradition | Prajyot Mainkar

People often talked about the Golden Temple with great enthusiasm and there’s only one way to understand the real reason for this enthusiasm – By visiting it. A few months back we had a wonderful opportunity to visit the Golden Temple. But only when you visit the temple do you know all dimensions of why this temple finds so a special place in everyone’s heart.

Along with the temple, I was excited to explore one of the largest kitchens in India that served people even during the Covid-19 pandemics. A kitchen that is powered by selflessly dedicated volunteers. Here’s our story of a lovely experience we had visiting the chefs and the people that make Goldern temple the largest langar serving place in the world.

The 7 am Visit to the Golden Temple Kitchen

Wondering why 7 am? We wanted to understand what is the process that goes behind this langar at the Golden Temple, especially when it serves over 100K people for free each day. No better time than the earliest side of the morning. It was a golden hour for us to greet and meet the people who make this happen, each day. We could easily walk into the lanes within the temple.

The Golden Temple Kitchen is situated just behind the serving hall and we had a great walk toward the kitchen. But what we saw while we walked were two interesting storage areas containing the packs of groceries at large.


Donations from Volunteers and well-wishers

A curious mind of mine asked a volunteer out there “Is this a monthly stock or daily?“. He patiently replied, “This is a daily contribution by the people”.  Each day plenty of people donate groceries in large packs which are stored in different compartments of the Kitchen area at the Golden Temple. Here are some more images of contributions made on that day.



Donations from Volunteers and well-wishers

It is speculated that over 4million dollars are required to drive this kitchen but generous volunteers and regular contributors make it easy.  There are dedicated areas for each kind of contribution which are stacked. “There is no end to the supplies“. He added. “There are plenty of supplies and food made here. The almighty is here to take care. This place can never run out of food”. Goosebumps


Donations from Volunteers and well-wishers

The Man and his team

Every mission needs the right people to be along. But most importantly, the right people need the right guidance through the process. Not often when you travel you meet kind souls that communicate with the same intensity and passion as much as you do. We were blessed to meet the man ( Head Chef) who works all through the day to make the kitchen function, all along with his team.  It takes more than passion to cook food and serve unlimitedly for a noble cause.

The driving force is trust in good and belief in ‘Doing good for people’. All the people who contribute towards this are driven voluntarily. They believe ‘selfless service’ is an important part of Sikhism.

The head chef was amazing to talk to. Though our words were getting translated into Punjabi for him to understand but eventually he grabbed the meaning of all that we spoke in Hindi or English. After a few exchanges, he said, “It’s nice to talk. I’ve been featured by many, even international teams have featured me online. But first, Let me show you the Kitchen” and took us to the cooking area.


The ‘Head Chef’ as they call him

It was the earlier hour of the morning and hence the volunteers were preparing for the meal. This area is situated over the burner that’s powered by wood logs. It is equally important to keep the top area cool to ensure people can easily walk on the top. He generously guided this volunteer in the picture to cool the area on which we were to step on.

The Burner and the preparation - The Golden Temple

The Burner and the preparation

The area that is just above the ground level where walking is just like walking on hot sand. All thanks to the burner. But at this point, all you focus on are the large utensils that are used to cook and the preparations that go along.

The utensils and Preparation at the Golden Temple, Amritsar

The utensils and Preparation at the Golden Temple, Amritsar

The scale of the kitchen has been expanding over the last many years. Wondering what got just cooked? Check below:

The delicious preparation

The delicious preparation

Tea with the master

The head chef said in Punjabi “Do you wish to have tea?“. Hesitant me but I wouldn’t miss this opportunity. I love tea and having a great time talking to him would be awesome. He indicated to one of his volunteers to bring two tea and within 15-20 sec, it was presented to us in a metal cup.

Wherever we travel, we love tasting tea. Undoubtedly, this was the best tea we had in our whole life. It has much more than tea. The hands that made them serve thousands of people across the years, passionately and selflessly. I asked “Why don’t you join us?” and he smiled with the agreement. We were blessed.

Within 30mins from the time we entered this arena, we felt comfortable talking to everyone who was part of this kitchen. I had a few questions which I asked him “So when do you take a break?“. He smiled at me and said, “Whenever he wants me to take one. But I don’t remember when I took a rest. I drive on his force” by pointing up to the Golden Temple.

By no means did he look tired, instead had energy levels high to respond to every query that was asked by his team regarding cooking plans for the day. That answer was so pleasant and pleasing that I skipped all the other queries that bubbled into my mind. At the end of this talk, we thank him and he gracefully said “Do visit us again”.

Walking back with memories

The kitchen experience was one of the rarest opportunities for us to experience what goes behind the show of running the world’s largest free kitchen. To power such a kitchen, not just belief in ownself but several hands of selfless contribution bring a significant value. This place totally reminds us of how people work selflessly to help others against all tides of life. A life lesson to learn on ‘Keep doing your Best work‘ and ‘God will do the Rest‘.

When you travel to the Golden Temple, I highly recommend visiting and meeting the Master and his forces. May the Force be with him 🙂


Varanga Jain Temple Udupi Karnataka | Prajyot Mainkar

Thanks to all the friends and families who have portrayed the obvious image of Udupi in my mind. Until this point, I knew Udupi to be famous only for Krishna math, and its delicious laddu. But how did they miss Varanga Jain Temple? A few months back, I had a golden opportunity to visit Udupi for a wedding. Since it was a weekend wedding, I had a great amount of time around this time for exploring the city. 

I’ve always been fascinated by Jainism ( and Buddhism) which made me plot a direction to a village that has been on cards for a really long time but never found time to visit. The first and obvious is, that I never found a reason to visit Udupi, and “who’s going to drive that far?” feeling. No, it’s not about the distance ( i can drive for miles) but it’s about the conditions of roads as you cross Goa going South, even to this moment of writing this article. But now I had a perfect reason. 

The Varanga Jain Temple location:

It was a windy Sunday and I didn’t have a second thought of ‘being it the day for the mission to visit this temple. 4 Hours before the Haldi ritual could start and I know this was indeed a golden opportunity for me, coming this far, for a different reason altogether. This place is around 45-60 min aware from the town center of Udupi and demands careful driving owing to narrow lanes as you close into the Location. The drive to the village of Varanga is serene and peaceful. Apart from being slow and careful, this place is totally worth the drive that you incur. The interesting part is, depending on which part of Udupi you are situated, there are multiple routes leading to this temple. This place has a wonderful parking space in an open area. Being Sunday, I couldn’t spot any other car than mine at that moment, in this Grass-filled Parking area. 

About Varanga Jain Temple:

Kere Basadi (which means a lake temple), also called Chaturmukha Basadi. Built-in the 12th-century, this temple has a 4-faced idol of Tirthankaras and they look beautiful. As per the reports, a few years back, one could easily walk into the temple and the same is the situation during the dry season, however, if I had to be asked, I’d prefer it this way. There’s a small workshop house next to the temple wherein you can avail your ticket for the boat and you can also look for other temple offerings or services. They do not accept digital payment for any kind of ticket or services.  The boat ticket costs INR 20 ( USD 0.26) which is 1 person’s return ticket. That’s a too low cost for a ride, worth into such a wonderful place.


View of Varanga Jain Temple from the entry dock

The footwear needs to be kept away from the temple and is not allowed to be carried into the boat as well. It takes 2-mins to be taken across the other side and this is how the scene looks mid-way. 


The center of Varanga Jain Temple Lake

What was really admiring about this place was the ‘silence’ that you face. Plesant water, Quiet atmosphere makes it totally worth for you to spend your time. As you close in, this is what you see:


Varanga Jain Temple – Dock View

About Varanga Jain Temple:

As the boat docks, you end up on the steps and within the count of 5 of it, you face the back of the temple. I had the temple Pujari to guide me by his action which meant “to the front”.  The location of the dock is at the back of the temple and you need to walk up to just the opposite side. 


The side view of the temple

The Pujari told me to enter the temple, started with his Puja, and then offered the Aarati. He also explained to me that this temple is nearly 1300 years old and told me to check the other 3 idols.


Varanga Jain Temple Entrance

The walk into the temple area is very narrow but I managed it easily. I had a curious question for the Pujari and I asked about the visitors. To my surprise, he said a lot of tourists visit in the month of October-November and March-May, especially from Maharashtra and other parts of Karnataka. He added saying that the village of Varan houses a good number of Jain population too. While this conversation was getting interesting to learn, I knew it was my time to return. While going back to the other side where my car was parked, I couldn’t resist but capture a couple of more pictures. 


The Boatman and his treasure

The rush of the hour was the culprit to make me walk back to the boat. The boatman was very patient to allow me to capture the picture and even though it was against my will to return, I had to. Or else I wouldn’t have, especially if this is the view:


View from Varanga Jain Temple


In case you wish to visit the temple, here’s the Google Location to the place. Next time you are in Udupi, Don’t miss this. Please be assured that this place has a full-powered network of Vi-Idea, Jio so you aren’t away from a single call, just in case you need to be pulled out ( but why would you be?).