Silver Sprint Resort, Amboli : Travel review

Had been there on 9th August, 14. Read full travel review here.
The resort is situated a little bit inside the road, next to Indian Oil Petrol Pump. Small but well managed property. Food was better as compared to JRD.I think it was the only satisfactory meal we had in Amboli. They cook fresh food for you so take a little time to serve. At the outset, rooms also seemed to be in a better condition than JRD. Amboli is a place where you find no good eateries to dine out (not in rains at least), so it’s very important to book a place with good in-house restaurant.

Hotel JRD International, Amboli – Travel Review

Had been there around 8th August. Read full travel review here.

It is big but poorly maintained property. We had researched a bit about this hotel and going by traveler reviews, we booked cottage rooms.

Cottage room:
– Very basic room.
– Paint coming out of walls.
– No shower in washrooms.
– Hot water available from 7AM – 10 AM.
– Only 1 plug to charge mobiles that too at 5 ft height without any shelf or support to place mobile during charging. In order to match that height, we had to stack our travelling bags on top of a table.
– There is no phone in the room for room service. There is a bell but didn’t use it.
– At night cockroaches and insects come inside the room from the gap beneath the door

We stayed in an A/C cottage but do not need any air conditioner if visiting during monsoons since the atmosphere is anyways cold.

Property:  
– One of the biggest properties in Amboli
– They have a swimming pool but it wasn’t operational during monsoon.
– Ample Parking Space
– Polite staff

But poorly maintained. The pathway to our room was very slippery due to Algae. I slipped twice while heading to my room on arrival. & I wasn’t alone. It happened to few neighbors as well. The staff told me that they cleaned the pathway post monsoon only since the algae will again grow. (Really?)
I was travelling with a 4 year old, so to avoid any further unpleasant surprises, I requested him to clean at least 2 of the most slippery tiles. He obliged to my request and cleaned just those 2 J

Food:
Hotel has an in-house restaurant combined with beer bar. Big menu but just a few items available. Food was below average. Infact it was very bad except for the “Dal tadka”.

For Breakfast they only had Poha and bread butter available in Veg options.

Travel review for Amboli (a Hill Station in Maharashtra)

Had been to Amboli in 2nd week of August,  2014. We used our car for commuting. The drive from Pune to Amboli took around 7.5 hours with a few stoppages.

The place is awesome with lust green forest, scenic valleys, amazing waterfalls, clouds all around and heavy rainfall.

We stayed at JRD International. It is a big but poorly maintained property. Read full review here.

Roaming around:  There is no tourist taxi available in Amboli for sightseeing. You need to drive to places though poorly maintained isolated roads. Optionally you can hire a chauffeur for Rs. 1000/- per day (as per our hotel receptionist. We decided to drive of our own.

Hiranyakeshwar Temple: We reached Amboli on Friday afternoon. After having lunch in hotel restaurant, we headed to Hiranyakeshwar Temple. Roads are narrow and isolated with big potholes at some places. There are hardly any signboards. I would personally suggest visiting Amboli in a group since most the places here are isolated and you hardly get to see people or vehicles on the way.

The temple itself is good. Placed amidst beautiful green surroundings. There is a pool in front of temple filled with crystal clear water.
But the crowd was bad. Drunk people making noises in the pool. In fact 75% of the crowd at Amboli is the group of young guys and most of them drunk.

We came back to our hotel at 5 PM since it was too cloudy to explore other places.

Amboli waterfalls:

Next day we headed to Amboli waterfalls at 8 AM. It is on the way on the ghat road that leads to GOA. There are steps to go up. A big waterfall with strong water current facing a deep valley (which we could not see due to clouds) . Cold water, crabs on rocks , slipper steps and rains – all the same time. You need to be careful of speeding vehicles since the waterfall is on the main road.

We spend around an hour there. Then came back to hotel, bathed and had breakfast. Our Next destination was Mahadevgad.

Mahadevgad:

It was 11 AM on Saturday morning and we were the only couple standing at that isolated place with fog all around. Little scary. 10 min later another couple came to visit and we felt little better. Again could not see the valley due to clouds.

Shirgaonkar Point:

We could not find any point even after driving 4 km on the directed path. A passing by vehicle guided us to a location which was nothing more than a small pavement with railings facing to bushes. No signboard anywhere. It cannot be called a visiting point at all.

We went ahead the same road for another half a kilometer (just to explore out of curiousity)& it was HEAVEN there. BEAUTIFUL. It was the road leading to Chiroli village and the view on both sides was awesome. We didn’t go till the village and turned our car back near Deep Forest Retreat resort.

And the view I saw next was unforgettable. Rain approaching us in layers. It was 50 meters apart then 40, 30, 20, 10 and then our car windshield. Nature at its best.

Parikshit Point:

Next we planned to visit Parikshit point but locals advised us against going there alone in private car. As per them, we need to park car at certain point and then walk through the Forest to reach there. So it’s best to visit that point in a big group. We dropped the idea and headed to our next destination

Kaulesad Point:

We reached there around 1:30 PM and probably it was the only point where I could see some crowd. The place gives you a scenic view of valley and some small waterfalls. It was indeed good.

Nangtara Waterfalls:

Go down a few steps behind those tea/snack stalls and take a look at this amazing waterfall. There is a just a small gallery where you can enjoy the beauty and click pics. Nothing much to do there. 15-20 min are more than sufficient to visit this place.

It was around 2:15 PM and we were really hungry. So we went back in search of food. I really didn’t want to each at my Hotel but sadly there are not much options in Amboli. We decided to try out Silver Spring Resort Restaurant (Read Review) and we didn’t regret it.

Came back to hotel at 4 PM. Already too tired to do anything else and actually was nothing else left to explore as well. So spent rest of day inside the room. Had that (hopeless) Dinner at JRD restaurant and next morning we purposely left at 6 AM so that we hit the highway by breakfast time. Return journey was good. Saw lots of peacocks on my way back.

Amboli is a nice place for one day halt if you going to or coming back from GOA. But it wasn’t worth travelling 350 KM from Pune. There are better places around to explore in rains.

Recipe for Besan ke Ladoo

Recipe for Besan ke ladoo:

Below given quantity will make around 60 Nos of medium sized ladoo. You can adjust ingredient quantiy as per number of ladoos you want to make.

Ingredients

1 Kg besan or gram flour
750 grams ghee (being a punjabi, I use ghee generously but these ladoos can be made with around 500 grams of ghee also)
700 grams powdered sugar or boora
half spoon cardamom powder
1/4 cup of chopped dry fruits  (cashews, almonds) You can use any dry fruits as per your taste.

Steps:

1. dry roast the besan in a kadai on slow flame for about 10 mins.
2. keep on stirring continuously so that the besan is not burned and so that there is even browning.
3. Add ghee and continue roasting the besan for some more 10-15 minutes stirring continuously.
4. the besan would start to give a nice nutty fragrance, turn brown and will start releasing ghee.
5. once you get a strong nutty fragrance then switch off the fire.
6. remove the pan from the stove and keep down.
7. Let the besan cool down.
8. When besan is luke warm, add powdered sugar or boora. for best taste use the boora.
9. add the powdered cardamom and chopped dry fruits.
10. stir well so that no lumps are formed.
11. once you have mixed the besan ladoo mixture well then let it cool down to room temperature.
12. make small or medium sized besan ladoos and store them in air tight container.
13. Since ingredients used are not easily perishable, these ladoos will last for around 2 months if stored properly.

Notes
1. if you are unable to form the ladoos even when the mixture has cooled completely, then keep the mixture in the fridge for 20-30 mins. the ghee will solidify a bit and you will be easily able to form the besan ladoos.
1. On the other hand, if you are unable to form ladoos since the mixture is dry, add 2-3 tablespoon of melted ghee and then make ladoos.

Review of Silver Sands Hotel, Candolim Goa

Not recommended if you are going for an Indian Family Vacation.

The resort is located just 100 meters away from Beach. Majority of the crowd consists of foreigners. I could hardly see a couple of Indian families there.

We reached there by 12.30 PM and somehow we did not like the place at the first sight itself. It could be because my Idea of beach and sea is a peaceful vacation. Anyways, moving ahead, we had to wait for an hour before the room G-05 was allotted to us. Staff hardly pays attentions to Indians. We had waited for an hour for the room and Room Service Incharge looked so impatient within 5 minutes that we took to get our luggage out of car. So we took out only 1 bag from car leaving behind rest of luggage.

Room was very basic. There are bare minimum facilites in room. Apart from Bed, a lamp, a jug of water and 2 glasses. They don’t even provide a shower cap in bathrooms. Our balcony did not have facilities view (and I am thankful for that) but it was facing an empty
compound with a couple of trees. So that was the only calm place to have some peaceful time since Candolim as a beach is also very noisy and crowded.

The resort has 3 different restaurants for Breakfast, lunch and Dinner. Breakfast was complementry – consisted of Bread Toast, Butter and Orange Jam. That’s all. Tea/Coffee served there is certainly not meant for Indians. It was extremely bad when compared to Indian standards. You also have an option to avail paid breakfast of your (limited) choice. Indian restaurant is functional only for Dinner. For lunch the only option is continental food. But the good thing is that there are other food joints at walkable distance.

Room Service is also not good.  When we stepped into the room on the first day, the floor was all wet. Apparently the cleaning person had cleaned it with an ultra wet Mob. When it did not get dried up till an hour, we had to wipe it with a newspaper and foot mat to avoid getting slipped up. On the second day, they did not change bed linings or wet towels. Neither did they fill the water Jug nor cleaned the table/Chair in balcony. I had to specifically ask him later to refill water and change towel.
Overall, I will not recommend this resort if you are going for family vacation. Whenever I visit the beach next time, I will like to try out Santana for which I have got good reviews from friends but could not book due to unavailability of rooms.

Review for DudhSagar Spa Resort, Mollem (GOA)

Value for Money. The resort is spacious and well maintained. Full of lust green trees. We stayed in Room 110 which was facing the santuary area. Serene and Perfect for Morning walk. Has amenities like Swimmng pool, Kids pool Spa, Massage Therapies, Adventure activity center, play space for kids, in house restaurant and party lawn. They also have a GYM and Yoga center though I did not see anyone using it.They have a Tree top Adventure Activity Center. Also have a grounded option for Kids. Hotel people arrange for Jungle Safari and visit to DudhSagar Falls.

Food can be rated as average to good. Breakfast buffet has you 5-6 options to choose from. Room was good and appealing to eyes. Beddings were neat and clean. Bathroom was also good with 24 hours hot and cold water in Sink and Shower. However no buckets. They did not have a double bed in standard room. We had to join 2 seperate beds and it wasn’t very comfortable given that we also had a 3 year old son to share bed with us.

There is a small refrigerator in room which was not working. At night there was water Water Leakage from A/C due to which my Luggage Bags got wet by morning. Next day we had to change our luggage location and also put a Mat below A/C. Every night when we used to get back to our room, a flying frog was waiting at our door. It was scary for us but then this is part of adventure staying at any Jungle resort.

But overall I enjoued my stay there. Consider this resort if you enjoy being in lap of Nature and not scared of monekys and frogs around your room:)

PS: 1. I visited there in March 2014.
2. Road is very bad if you are coming to this hotel from Belgaum.

What is relevance of BUZZ word “Big Data”?

 

Big Data is the BUZZ word these days but what is BIG Data?

The size of data has exponentially grown during past 10 years. Today we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data everyday and more than 90% of data is accumulated over last 2 years only. So, undoubtedly, data is BIG, very BIG and its growing.

When we talk about analytics, volumne of Big Data is relative from industry to industry. Infact “Big Data” is a somewhat vague and loosely used term these days, used more for marketing purposes than making technical decisions. What one person calls “big data” another may consider just to be day to day operations on a single system.

In simple words, Big data is a collection of data sets so large and complex that your legacy IT systems can not handle them. When organizations get to the point where their volume, velocity, variety and veracity of data exceed storage or computing capacity, there are some big challenges that need to be addressed. The data size may vary from a few GIGABYTES to ZETTABYTES and at the rate data is growing, the range will soon include YOTTABYTES. As part of the Comprehensive National Cyber-security Initiative, the US National Security Agency (NSA) is building a $2 billion Utah Data Center facility to process (not store) yottabytes of information

But what will you do with so much of data? What value does this voluminous hold for you?
Big data by itself has no value – it’s meaningless. It’s what you do with the data that matters most.

Strictly talking about Sales Big Data, there are companies who have strored and continue to store Terabytes of information in their data centres. But how do they use this huge datasets aligned with their overall company goals and objectives.

Many companies these days offer Business Intelligence and Analytics tools, capable of extracting meaningful information from these TBs of datasets. The major players as per Garterner report 2013 are:
– Microsoft
– QlickTech
– IBM
– Oracle
– SAS
– SAP
– MicroStrategy
– Information Builders
– Tibco Spotire
– Tableu Software
– LogiXML
– Birst
– Prognoz
– Board Internation
– Bitam
– Actuate
– Panorma Software
– Alteryx
– Salient Management Company
– Japersoft
– Pentaho
– Targit
– Arcplan
– GoodData

 

Java Query Builder: con.createstatement vs con.preparedstatement

While developing JDBC queries, developers remain confused about which connection method to use.

dbconnection.createstatement
or
dbconnection.preparedstatement.

From performance perspective later is a better option for queries with a ‘where’ clause in place. The parameters passed to JDBC query are treated as bind variables at Database layer and results in soft parsing of queries leading to a better performance in most of the cases.

Let me explain a little more. Most relational databases execute a query in following steps:

  1. Parsing the SQL query
  2. Code Compilation
  3. Creating an execution path/plan
  4. Execute the query

Queries executed using “CreateStatement” method always go though all 4 steps for each execution request, also known as Hard Parsing. However “PrepatedStaetement” pre-executes first 3 steps and therefore lessens the load on database engine on the runtime. Precompilation and db side caching of sql statements leads to faster execution of queries. This is termed as Soft Parsing. So the overhead of parsing, compiling and optimizing is incurred only once though the statement is executed multiple times.

Use of preparedStatement is also a good practise since it helps in preventing SQL injection attacks.

However, there is a flip side to it. Since PreparedStatement doesn’t allow multiple values for one placeholder (?) it becomes tricky to execute SQL query with IN clause. We can tweak the sql query as follows to make use of bind variables with IN clause

begin
execute immediate ‘update tables set object_version=object_version+1 where tables_id in (select * from table(:1))’ using coltype_id(181,201);
end;

Note:Above query uses Oracle 11g syntax.

In Nutshell, using dbconnection.preparedstatement is a better practice when you want to conditionally fetch data from you JDBC query