All posts filed under: India

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 …

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 🙂 …