Year: 2019

A Guide to Planning and Enjoying a Multi-generation Family Holiday

Travelling in a large group of friends and family, to the hills of Himachal or Uttarkhand was the only way we travelled while growing up. I have memories of those road trips, stretching over a couple of days, when we packed food for the road, still made frequent pit stops at local dhabas on the highway, were never in a rush to reach our destination, but once we did, we all settled in quickly. The parents were happy to have all the kids off their chest, and us kids would be thrilled to spend our days playing games and running around, and well, just being kids. Our demands and needs were much simpler and adjustments and joy came fairly easily. Today, most of us are city dwellers with fast lives and jobs and commitments, and while we are travelling much more than the generation before, most of us chose to do it with our partners or a small close knit group of friends and family. In fact, the more I think about this, I realize …

A Photo Essay of Madikeri, Coorg : 50 Shades of Green

Kodagu, popularly known as Coorg is a beautiful part of Karnataka that I visited last year. We stayed in a picturesque town called Madikeri, which is the district headquarters. Framed by the Western Ghats, Coorg is rich and diverse in its flora and fauna, as we experienced up close, through a walk into its rainforests as well as a hike to Nishani peak, organised by our hotel, Taj Madikeri. The Taj Madikeri is built in a stunning location, surrounded by 180 acres of rainforests on all sides. They organized a walk with Nitin Subbiah, a naturalist and our guide and we were intrigued with his deep knowledge of the many mysteries of the forest, the unique balance of nature, the many examples of the harmony that exists between the flora and fauna – from funnel web spiders that create their home and trap their prey, to strangler trees, wild elephants, exotic butterflies, mushrooming of spices and coffee, this was an incredible walk that was enjoyed across age groups (our group spanned three generations from age …

A Guided Walking Tour of Lodhi Art District with St+Art India

Early this year, I stumbled upon Instagram photos of some very striking wall murals in Delhi’s Lodhi Colony, and as I traced their origins, I learnt that they were part of a focused effort by an organization called St+Art India, a non-profit that aims to bring the art experience outside of a traditional gallery, into public spaces, thereby making it accessible to all. The Lodhi Art District, as it’s now getting popularly known, is their largest project so far. Outside of Delhi, the foundation has also beautified spaces in Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Bangalore, with Chennai coming up next. When St+Art announced the walking tours for Delhi, I immediately signed up for a slot this October. The weather gets better and this would be a perfectly fine reason to walk around one of the most scenic parts of Delhi, with tons of art around. This is a paid tour, but of course you don’t really need to pay since this is an “open air museum”. I just thought it would be more fun in knowing the …

Travel isn’t always pretty – An eye-opening tour of Hebron, West Bank

I stood in the Abraham Hostel lobby in Jerusalem, 15 min to 9 am, looking around the group. People sipped their coffees and the room was full with the casual air of small talk. This could have been any day and any tour, except that it wasn’t. In a few minutes, we would be on our way to Hebron – the most conflicted and troubled city in the Middle East. Shortly, a young chirpy girl marched in with Eliyahu McLean, our guide for the day. She called out our names, checking them off her list rapidly. Eliyahu was an orthodox Jew – as I could see from the Kippah (cloth skullcap) and Payot (long curly side locks) he adorned. He told us that we would walk to the Central Bus Station and then ride out to Hebron, 30km north of Jerusalem. As we left the city and the bus picked up speed, Eliyahu told us that he ran Jerusalem Peacemakers, an interfaith organization that promoted peaceful dialogue and reconciliation between Israel and Palestine. As part …

Israel to Jordan by land – What to expect when crossing the Beit She’an border

As I sat in the plane, I felt uneasy about the impending chaos. Our trip had begun, but we barely had an itinerary and barring the apartment in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem(which were also booked in the last 48 hours), we hadn’t made any arrangements elsewhere. We had booked a return flight from Amman, Jordan since we got cheaper tickets to fly back to Delhi from there, but we had no clue on how we would get there. I had vouched in 2018 that I will be more spontaneous on trips, but this was stretching my limits and spending precious time on the internet trying to figure things out while I could be seeing more of a new place was something that gave me a lot of discomfort. But here I was, on a plane to Israel, ready to take-off and I decided to reassure myself that things would be okay. It wasn’t a surprise really that things turned out this way. A close couple friend was keen to take some time off and explore …

2019 Travel Trends that I actually want to follow

I am not a trendy person, I will be honest. And as I age, my choices in food, fashion, lifestyle are veering more and more towards “going back to the basics”. So, I am surprised that I wanted to write this post. As the calendar rolled into 2019, and the internet was abuzz with forecasts of all kinds, I couldn’t help but enthusiastically nod yes on six trends in travel that I was already loving. Travel reflects changing mindsets and culture, social and economics shifts. I grew up in Delhi in the 90’s and at its core, travel was about a large group of friends and family, hill stations and road trips in summers. Today, with greater disposable incomes, cheaper flights, options of bnbs, technology, a change in mindset and world views, people are travelling more than ever before. And the expectation from travelling is changing constantly. Travel leaves an impact, not only on the traveler but also on the destination. And as travelers we need to be more conscious of that. I don’t think …