Year: 2014

Hotel Review – The Asian Confluence, Shillong

I had a lot of expectations from Meghalaya before my visit this October and like I shared earlier, it turned out to be a mixed bag of sorts with some great experiences, some disastrous and a few borderline average. Anyway, our plan involved staying in Shillong and using it as a base to explore the Living Roots Bridges, Cherrapunji, Barapani and the likes. Every single review I read online mentioned staying in Police Bazaar where apparently all the action was. It was peak time and since we did not find any available hotel in this location, we booked ourselves in the relatively unknown (to the online world) Polo Bazaar. I thought, what the heck, how bad could it be? To put things bluntly, I hated it! The hotel in itself was okay but the view was horrible, noisy and far from what I had imagined. It seemed like such a waste to come this far and stay in such an uninspiring place. We decided to head out and try our luck at Police Bazaar again, and all I will …

A Unique Trek to the Long Living Roots Bridge, Cherrapunji

I had read many travelers rave about the fascinating “living roots” bridges in Meghalaya, grown naturally by the Khasi tribe from the roots of the Ficus Elastica tree. These bridges take decades to grow and are extremely strong and one of a kind in the world. This was enough to get me excited and go see what the fuss is all about 😉 So on a beautiful October afternoon in Meghalaya, me and my friends see out on this exploration. We had an option to choose between the Double Decker Living Roots bridge and the Long Living Roots Bridge – as the name suggests the Double Decker bridge is two bridges, one underneath the other and approximately 3200 steps one way from the starting point. The Long Bridge is a single bridge, about 1600 steps one way from the starting point and takes about two to three hours to complete. It was already afternoon, coming back in the dark seemed tough, and since everyone wasn’t in the mood for an extended trek, we decided to check out the Long Bridge. Truth …

Travel tales from Meghalaya

Meghalaya can be welcoming and dissuading, charming and ordinary, exciting and dull, all in a single breath. In a way, it’s seems like a mirror to life itself – neither black, nor white, somewhat grey, in varying degrees. This experience may leave you with no specific aftertaste, an opinion not strong enough to qualify as one, and you will be left a little bemused on how best to define it. I guess some things are just meant to be left at that… Intriguing facts about Meghalaya Meghalaya is a Sanskrit word which means ‘Abode of Clouds’, signifying the vast amount of rain this region receives. Ironically, in my three days here, I witnessed not even a single drop 🙂 Meghalaya is home to three major tribal communities, the Khasis, Garos and Jaintias. The Khasi tribe is a matrilineal society which means that the mother is the head of family, the youngest daughter owns all the property and the mothers surname is passed on to the children. Our driver and guide for the trip told us that women enjoy a lot of power …

A tea garden experience in Assam – Wild Mahseer Homestay

With Assam being the largest tea producing region in India, a trip to this part of the world would definitely be incomplete without a tea garden experience. While plantations are aplenty, only a few offer homestays – unless of course you know someone personally at a tea estate and they are kind enough to let you stay for a day or two 🙂 We chanced upon Wild Mahseer through a friend’s recommendation – and it sounded just right because of its proximity to Kaziranga National Park(though the park is shut till November, we were told to check on the situation a day before we reached, in case a safari could be accommodated, but unfortunately for us it didn’t happen). Wild Mahseer is about a 20 minute drive from Tezpur, in the midst of the Balipara division of Addabarie Tea Estate.  This experience is your cup of tea if – You like peace and quiet, and can survive a slow pace of life You enjoy nature You enjoy having nothing to do (at least once in a while) You can survive without Wi-Fi and TV You are okay …

In Photos: The beauty of Mykonos

With world famous night clubs hosting superstar DJs, multiple bars and beach clubs, the Greek island of Mykonos well justifies its “party island” tag. However, there is more to Mykonos than meets the eye – its perfect symmetry of blue and white stretching across the island, narrow winding lanes, quirky shops, wonderful food and of course the windmills. The perfect white landscape with the windmills in the background. The various shades of blue in the waters, the skies and the houses. A view from the windmills.4. The beautiful waters and the infinite sky.5. A sandcastle made by a group of tourists at the beach. 6. A little adventure never hurt anyone 😉 A sit-out restaurant on one of the many streets, in the main town. 8. The steps to our humble abode, in the middle of a small residential colony. Fresh rolled pasta left to dry outside a restaurant. Catching the sunset at the very famous windmills.  Enjoy a meal right next to the water with the sun going down.  Acknowledgement : These pictures are clicked by two …

Contest Alert – Win the Adventure of a Lifetime with #AirbnbBucketList

I am extremely excited to let you all know (in case you don’t know already) that fellow travel blogger Shivya Nath(of The Shooting Star) and Airbnb have partnered to run an amazing contest, in which 3 lucky winners stand the chance to win grand prizes worth INR 30,000, INR 20,000 and INR 10,000, to book Airbnb stays anywhere across the world. All you need to do is register at Airbnb, browse through the amazing stay options, pick the one that you fancy the most and post it on The Shooting Star Facebook page. or using #AirbnbBucketList on Twitter.For more details on the contest, please see Shivya’s post. Submit your entries fast, the contest is open till Sept 10th, 11:59 pm IST. Below are my three entries, and I really really wish and pray that I am one of the winners, fingers crossed!! Entry 1 My first pick is a luxury California island – private houseboat, pristine waters, fishing, waterskiing and absolute peace… that is the STUFF holidays should be made of.  And a little luxury never hurt anyone! https://www.airbnb.co.in/rooms/686164 Entry 2 My second …

A photo essay – Santorini

There is something magical about Santorini, with its beautiful beaches and even more beautiful people, a jaw dropping sunset and an easy laid back charm. It is one of those places that will make you want to wish to go back again and again – below are some glimpses into my Santorini experience – 1. The best way to visit the Grecian islands is to hop from one to another on a ferry. I strongly recommend that you do this and not take the flights as nothing can match the views and waters from the ferry. 2. Many locals park their cars and bikes inside the ferry, and use these at the destination island. Imagine getting off work on a Friday evening, driving to the ferry, parking your car inside, enjoying the ride, hopping off the island in your own car! Sounds like your thing? 3. The caldera cliffs and the pristine white landscape is a spectacular sight.4. If you are not a local and did not get your own car/bike, worry not as you can rent one of these …

My top 9 Istanbul take-aways

Istanbul is such an eclectic mix of the east and west, the old and new, the traditional and modern, that it will amaze you that something like this can exist, and that too in perfect harmony! There are many things that make Istanbul unique and below are my top 9 picks – 1. Beautiful architecture If you are fond of history and art, Istanbul will truly captivate you. Visit the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and be truly amazed by the intricate craftsmanship. Though I am not much of a monument person, I was quite impressed with the sheer beauty of the Blue Mosque which was built by Sultan Ahmet to calm the Gods. I ended up skipping Hagia Sophia (had a great lunch calling plus there was an entry fee 😀 ) 2. Turkish tea or coffee Walk around the cobblestone streets of the old city and chill at a sidewalk café sipping Turkish tea or coffee. There is something about this experience that is so authentic, you will want to do it again, AND again. 3. The …

Kerala – Kovalam, Alleypey, Kochi and Wayanad

I have been wanting to create a separate section on my blog just for pictures for quite some time now and was contemplating which of my past travels to start with, when Kerala Tourism got in touch with me, appreciating my blog post and requesting me to share an image of their latest campaign, Kerala Great Backwaters. And I thought, why not start with this beauty itself – just so you know this was THE holiday that inspired me to start my blog (Read more about what all I did in Kerala in my post Magical Kerala!) So here goes a collage of some of the pictures that I think are the best – hope you all enjoy!    

A vibrant Holi experience at Rishikesh

Let me begin by admitting that the timing of this post is a little off, since it is a little over 2 months after the last Holi and a long stretch before the next one. However, I still decided to publish this post while the colors and memories of experiencing Holi at Rishikesh this year are fresh 🙂 Over the last few years, I have felt that the enthusiasm for Holi is slowly fading away, in Delhi at least. Holi, which used be an affair stretching for days, involved throwing water balloons and buckets filled with water from the terrace, on unarmed and non-suspecting mortals – of experiencing the sheer joy and glee in “hitting targets”, ducking and hiding from those who may not have shared the same enthusiasm and shouting “Bura na mano Holi hain (Don’t mind it’s Holi)” to cool tempers. All of this has now given way to a shorter, milder, and may I say more boring version of the festival which involves getting together on the D-day at a friend’s or family member’s …