Month: March 2014

Varanasi Diaries – Part 1

I recently took a 3 day trip to the holy city of Varanasi, on a whim really, and not sure of what to expect. Varanasi, Benaras (or Kashi) is one of the oldest living cities in the world – and legend has it, that it was here that Shiva and Parvati stood, at the beginning of time. A vibrant confluence of many things – myth, reality, culture, mystery, spirituality, knowledge and architecture, Varanasi is more than a destination to visit, it is an experience. With its narrow lanes, overcrowded at every nook at corner, the temples, the chaos, the Ghats, the people, this experience can be overwhelming and all-consuming. “If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home.” – James Michener Day 1 Landing at Varanasi (10:00 am) I land at the Varanasi airport and I am in for a surprise. The airport is extremely clean, not what I had expected. It’s a very comfortable ride from Delhi (just a 1 hour flight). We take a pre-paid cab …

Tapri~The Tea House, Jaipur

Till recently, there were hardly any cafes in any part of our country, with the eternal chai as the focal point, except of course, the unassuming roadside “cutting chai stalls” which are dime a dozen. And it almost makes me wonder why, in a pre-dominantly tea drinking nation such as ours(ORG-India Tea Consumption Study,2012 says 83 per cent households in India consume tea), we seldom focus on a beverage which is so widely consumed, and is very much a part of the Indian culture and heritage. Tapri, which means a makeshift roadside tea-stall, is a recent entrant in this space in Jaipur and is a cafe almost true to its name, in concept as well as spirit. The decor is bang-on, vibrant and very innovative, right from the menu which looks like a “sarkari file” to kettles and cutting chai glasses used to decorate the walls, and the typical big glass jars to store biscuits and cookies. The best thing about the cafe is the big open terrace sitting – just the type of place one would want to hang …