Year: 2014

Weekend Getaway from Delhi – Tree of Life Resort & Spa, Jaipur

The Tree of Life Resort & Spa, set in the Aravalli Hills, can be an almost perfect weekend getaway from Delhi, if you are the sort of traveler who might appreciate doing nothing much once in a while, and wouldn’t mind spending an extra buck on a luxurious room. I stayed at this property just for a day, in between my Rajasthan travels and below is my take on the overall experience – “The good” stuff 1.The villas The villas are gorgeous to say the least – with a separate living room, a beautiful bedroom overlooking a private garden and a huge bathroom. The private garden (believe it or not!) comes with a Jacuzzi and 2 spa tables (some rooms have a private pool as well). The average size of each of the 14 villas is around 2500 sq. feet (am sure that can put an average Mumbai or Manhattan flat to shame 😉 ). Every piece of furniture and decorative is spectacular, you get loads of sunshine and air in all corners and it is fairly private(I hope the gallery …

Varanasi Diaries – Part 2

Day 2 is a rainy day in Varanasi, and we sit down for breakfast, hoping that it will soon be bright and sunny and we will be able to venture out to do some more exploring. Two hours gone and it still hasn’t stopped pouring so we decide to be a bit bold and step out. It is almost lunch time now, so never mind the muck and dirt and water logging, when you are on a holiday, you gotta do what you gotta do! 1:00 pm We are on our way to the Chowk for some shopping, and as we get into the narrow lane that leads us there, it is so mucky that it becomes impossible to walk, so we have no option but to do a course correction. We decide to head to the Kashi Vishwanath temple – dedicated to Lord Shiva and arguably one of the most famous temples for Hindus, a visit here is supposed to free the true devotees from the cycle of death and sansaar (worldly pleasures) .The temple is near Dashashwamedh Ghat, and is approached by a narrow winding gali (lane), very similar …

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 …

Anokhi Cafe , Jaipur

Think of Jaipur and what immediately comes to mind is regal palaces and forts, colors, music and dance, jewelry, and of course – spicy and ghee laden(but definitely tasty) food – the Pyaaz kachoris at Rawat Mishthan Bhandar, Laal maas at Niros or Handi, Dal bhati churma just to name a few. So the Anokhi Cafe, almost seems like an oxymoron to the city of Jaipur. A hidden gem no more, the cafe, adjacent to the Anokhi Store on Prithviraj road has been in business for more than 8 years now. I have been there a few times myself, and have completely enjoyed the fresh, organic and healthy options on the menu. And I always wondered as to why such an exciting concept had not proliferated to other cities, considering the clothing store is pretty much everywhere, but it is not accompanied by the cafe, except in Jaipur. On a recent trip to the Pink City, I paid the cafe yet another visit, in an attempt to savor the goodies and get some well-deserved answers 🙂 …

Where to eat a great Italian meal and a calorie-worthy dessert in Manhattan

First of all, let me begin by saying that I LOVE Manhattan! Yes, you heard it right, it’s pure, passionate and unconditional love.. and it was love at first sight ! The crowded streets, the buzz, the energy,the food, the atmosphere…its just something else. My second time in NYC is a cold, snowy, rainy day, and I am in the mood to venture out for a wholesome, hearty meal. Now New York as you know, is no stranger to food from all parts of the globe – you can probably get Paranthas, Pizza, Sushi, Kebabs, Steaks and more within your line of sight, no matter where you are. Which is why I ask a seasoned cousin of mine for a recommendation – and I am told about an Italian place called Paprika for dinner to be followed by ChikaLicious for dessert. Let me get to these one by one: Think homey, candlelit, cozy and unpretentious – that is Paprika for you.The restaurant which is over a dozen years old, is on St Mark’s place in …

Sky Dive @New York City!

Do you ever sit back and think about the trips you have had and what fun they were? There are some which are absolutely fantastic – can you recall all the details, the places you saw, the food you ate, the people you met? Maybe not. But there are always some experiences that stick – for reasons unknown. An experience (which was really quite an experience!) was my first Sky Dive. It has been a few years but I still remember each and every detail as if it was yesterday. It was my solo week in Manhattan, and for reasons unknown I wanted to skydive. I researched some and then some more and finally zeroed in on Sky Diving, The Ranch in Gardiner, New York. On the day itself, I was nervous sick with excitement, the 90 minute bus ride from Manhattan to Gardiner seeming endless. I reach Gardiner, and it seems like a sleepy little town, anything but a destination to sky dive. The ranch itself is “out-of-town” says my cab driver, and it’s barely a 2 km …