All posts filed under: India

A perfect homestay at Naukuchiatal

It feels almost unreal that we are halfway into February, 2016 is moving a bit too fast, isn’t it? I had a wonderfully slow start to the year though, in the serene hills of Nainital, surrounded by friends, in a cozy hill cottage overlooking Naukuchiatal Lake. It was a New Year getaway but let me confess that I am not a big fan of celebrating the onset of another year. I find the whole thing overrated, especially in the cities, who you pay thousands for going to an overcrowded party, where the food and drinks suck big time, the service is disappointing, and you are likely surrounded by college kids getting hysterically drunk and throwing up before the clock strikes twelve. So, predictably, over the past few years, I have completely abstained from the whole Delhi party scene on NYE, preferring getting together at a friend’s place, or even better, going out of town if it’s a long weekend. This year, we found a cozy lake facing cottage in Naukuchiatal which seemed perfect for our …

A rustic retreat at Himalayan Village, Sonapani

I was weary with work, frustrated with the hustle of city life and craving some quiet time last week. And the soaring temperatures in Delhi were adding to my woes. All I wanted was to get away to somewhere, nowhere and just do nothing at all. Recharge my drained batteries. And what better way to do this than to retreat to the hills with my partner in crime, my sister 😛 Himalayan Village, Sonapani in Uttarakhand has been on my mind for some time, having heard wonderful reviews from many but somehow, it never materialized until now! So we packed our bags, took the train from Delhi to Kathgodam, and a two and a half hour (very snaky)cab ride later, we were at our destination. Himalayan Village I don’t really know how to define this place, it is not a hotel or a resort but more like a homestay. The owners Ashish and Deepa stay on the property, along with their two children Aru and Vanya, and a big mountain dog called Jhumroo(who I found mostly …

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 …

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 …

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 …