In the lap of Dauladhar: Dharamshala stadium

Dharamshala – the home to Dalai Lama, a mini Tibet and the second capital to Himachal Pradesh. Anything I will write in praise of Dharamshala will not do any justice to the place that’s magically peaceful. In the backdrop of beautiful Dauladhar, Dharamshala offers a sight  to behold wherever you look. While the place is…

A walk through the bakeries of Pune

I started off as a traveller who would shop a lot before any trip and focus on getting clicked as much as the photographer can whenever I went to any place. 😉 After 15+ states in India, I feel I have matured and like to breathe in the place before infinite selfies and checking off…

Of the love that refused to die: Mastani Mahal, Pune

Close your eyes, fall in love. Stay there.  – Rumi Love touches everyone. We all experience love & all that it brings with itself: excitement, change and pain. And even after all the pain and change, we don’t bat an eyelid before falling in love again. They say that love knows nothing. It’s blind. And…

From the South of India!

Sometimes words ain’t required because pictures are worth more than anything. My tryst with travelling began in 2014, and since then I have been to a lot of states in India. Each has its own specialty – culture, food, stories, forts or waterfalls. My love for #IncredibleIndia is unmatched and I enjoy my trips to…

Bhaiya, Eiffel tower chalenge?

English Translation of the post title: Bhaiya, Eiffel Tower Chalenge? (Hey, what will you charge for a ride to Eiffel Tower?)  It was a soft evening: of pleasant air, crimson sky and a warm, setting Sun. I was wearing my favorite red colored pants, floral top and a hat. I had my new shades on that…

The state of colors: Rajasthan

Like most kids, I also dreamt of fantasy lands where there were mountains of chocolates and taps full of Maaza. My fantasy land was perfect. I could watch TV all day, play whenever I want & roam around wherever I want. There would be no restrictions and I would feel at home in that place….

Where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon: Sarnath, Varanasi

“Buddham Sharnam Gachhami” They say that it was a fine evening in a spacious deer park. On the green grass, sat a group of monks, some 250kms. away from this humble place called ‘Bodhgaya’. That must be a special day. The air must have blown slowly and smoothly without making any sound. The tree must…

The Taj of Delhi: Humayun’s Tomb

A king fell madly in love with his queen and created magic in marble that attracts crowd from all over the world today. Go back a few years, and you would find the inspiration behind the glorious Taj Mahal, sitting quietly, counting its days, and rejoicing in the popularity of what came after itself. The…

A place for monkeys: Jakhu Temple, Shimla

After a horrendous experience in Vrindavan last year when a monkey attacked me in open & snatched my spectacles from me, I have had my differences with this breed. I don’t go near them, avoid eye contact at all costs & maintain my distance. Any place where I might find a monkey is usually not…

By the river Betwa, I sat down and smiled.

Ours is a beach generation – a shack, a beer and a beach in Goa. That’s all we need to unwind from crazy routines at work. And if that’s not reason enough, how about ‘getting high by the beach’? 😀 I have no such favorites. I can enjoy a scenic beach as much as I…

The not so talked about story of Fatehpur sikri!

I remember reading about ‘Buland Darwaza’ in History text books from class VII or VIII. The mention of ‘Buland Darwaza’ almost always is clubbed with the description of ‘Fatehpur Sikri’ just like the witty stories of Birbal, that are incomplete without the mention of Mughal emperor Akbar. Both go together! Also read: the highest gateway…

The hustled life of Indian Railways

Some things can never lose their charm. For example: good, old landline phones. Remember, the first time they installed it at home? We won’t let it go out of sight, not until we are at home. We would wait in front of it for hours hoping that some distant aunt will give us a call…

The queen of hills: Shimla

Pitched roofs of colorful houses, red & ripe apples in big orchards & tall, decorated churches – that’s how I imagined Shimla. It was a Saturday early morning of Summers when we caught a train from New Delhi railway station to Kalka. We were excited about our journey, about sitting in a toy train for…

Palampur: of Bollywood and Dauladhar range

The best stories are always chanced upon: the unknown restaurant that served the yummiest food, the stranger who helped when least expected, catching the train at the last moment, waiting for the delayed flight at the airport & finishing that pending book on Kindle or the road that led to a beautiful place that wasn’t…

Have you found your travel story yet?

“When one door closes, another opens. Or you can open the closed door. That’s how doors work.” – Douglas Adams No Rocket Science! Life isn’t much complicated either. Figure out something that gives you happiness and do more of it. That’s it. Simple! Our generation is quite blessed in those terms. We somehow were born…

Shades of Karnataka: a photo story

India is more than the beaches of Goa, the picturesque mountains and lakes of Ladakh, the backwaters of Kerala and the hill stations of Shimla and Ooty. India is definitely more than that. Each of the 29 states offers a different experience to the traveller inside you. All you got to do is – explore….

The burnt & broken: Shaniwarwada, Pune

Bajirao-Mastani hit the Cinema Halls last year and took us on a visual treat. The movie got me thinking about many things & I resolved to read the translated copy of the famous Marathi novel ‘Rau’ & pay a visit to the much decorated (going by what the movie showed) Shaniwarwada in Pune. I could…

On your plate, from the streets of India!

With many fine dining restaurants & bars mushrooming here and there, burning a hole in the pocket has become easier than ever. These restaurants will ‘Sir and Ma’am’ you, serve exotic-sounding dishes in small bowls and plates (quantity enough for a bite or two) & take away all your money. In fact, the more I…

Where all that shines is Gold: Jaisalmer

The land is barren and the farms are dry. The weather is harsh and the temperature is very high. You would think that this can mar the spirits of the locals. But no ma’am, no. You are wrong. The place beams, the buildings shine & the locals,the locals sparkle under the hot Sun with a…

A little place of books: Waari Book Cafe, Pune

“Reading gives us a place to go when we have to stay where we are.”  A book comes with no reservations. You can safekeep a book, begin it at your own pace, go back, flip forward or close it and take a nap. The book doesn’t mind & the book never moves. You will always…

Republic India; Incredible India!

India will celebrate its 68th republic day tomorrow on 26th January, 2017. The pride of the country will be seen in march pasts, rallies and other cultural programs as part of the republic day parade at Rajpath. Many television shows will lose their audience to the live telecast of republic day parades tomorrow because India…

Orchha: the erstwhile capital of Bundelkhand

India is a country of colors. No matter where you go, you are bound to discover a new color – a sketch of the forgotten past with strokes of victories coupled with dabs of eloquent art and architecture. At a distance of 485 kms. from Delhi, between the heroic Jhansi & monumental Khajuraho, lies a…

A wondrous morning & ‘Waah Taj’!

“Let the splendor of diamond, pearl, and ruby vanish like the magic shimmer of the rainbow.  Only let this one tear-drop, this Tajmahal, glisten spotlessly bright on the cheek of time, forever and ever .” -Rabindranath Tagore  More than three centuries ago, a muslim emperor built an ivory-white monument in the memory of his Persian…

The highest Gateway in the world: Buland Darwaza

“The world is a bridge, pass over it, but build no houses upon it”, reads the Persian inscription on the main gateway, Buland Darwaza.  Akbar wanted to commemorate his conquest over Gujarat. He decided to do something extraordinary. Feasts were organized regularly & competitions were a regular affair, he wished to do something magnificent &…

The aloof tiger and the lazy Python of Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary

15 years ago when I visited Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary for the first time, our guide told us about a tiger that lived in the sanctuary and came by the lake in the evening to drink water. It was an excursion trip organized from KVS (Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan). I was in 9th standard and for the…

A walk down the ancient India: Pattadakal

At a mere distance of 22 kms. from the famous Badami caves, exists the rustic village of Pattadakal. Located on the left side of the Malaprabha river, Pattadakal lives graciously, away from the madness of the contemporary world. Evidence suggests that Pattadakal came into being around 6th or 7th century when the Chalukyas decided on…

Incredible India: 12 places for 12 months!

It was a Friday evening of humid April this year. Around 4 pm of that fateful evening, I found myself battling for breath. My life jacket was intact, but I could not come above the surface. Water started to get better of me. I was telling myself that nothing would happen. At best, I would…

Sunburn or not, new year means Goa!

Some places evoke a feeling of belonging. You long for them. All the unsettling thoughts and turmoil inside you begin to smooth over, in such places. You come here again and again & do the same things over and over. With the passage of time, you develop rituals. And these rituals only become meaningful when you are…

The pursuit of tea & the road to Munnar!

I am never alone. Because I always have a cup of tea to keep me company. I was 8 when I had my first cup of tea. It was a monsoon evening with a clear but clouded day. I played ‘nine tiles’ that evening. After an hour, I came back home a winner but drenched. …

Gwalior: Where she fought gallantly, the queen of Jhansi!

“No, impossible! I shall not surrender my Jhansi!” On June 18th, 1858, a 29 year old widowed queen of Jhansi, with courage in her veins and valor in her blood, fought against the British and lay her life in the battle of Gwalior, trying to save her state from the British. The British (greatly outnumbering…

A box of chocolates – Kodai Kanal.

My mother never told me that life was a box of chocolates. She had a list of adjectives that Life was – demanding, whimsical, eccentric, and mischievous –  but it was never a box of chocolates in her dictionary. Chocolates were instead a treat for us reserved to be enjoyed only on special occasions like…

Fantastic beasts and here to find them: National Zoo, Delhi

Adjusting the TV antenna to improve the reception, showing off the new Sony Walkman, blowing big bubbles after chewing the gum, safekeeping our white canvas school shoes, playing carom with family for hours, meeting your friends in the colony park in the evening, waiting by the phone receiver for hours and dialling any number (yeah,…

A 1500 year old tale set in stone: Aihole temples, Karnataka

In ancient India, people relied on temples for learning, financial assistance and education. Temples were the know all, be all. Locals deposited their Gold and currency in the temple treasury chests and retired peacefully to sleep every night. Temples were a sacred place where the destiny was made and remade. So sacred were the temples that…

Top 7 destinations to Holiday this December for winters have come!

Winters, like Santa Claus, brings a bag of goodies with itself every year: late mornings, envelopes of mist, the momentary relief from chilling cold over sips of piping hot chai (tea) served over a plate of pakoras (fritters) & holidays. Holidays are the best part about winters and of course, the tea. Most would like to…

The Great Indian Parantha of Amrik Sukhdev, Murthal!

I have a theory – When something is denied to you, you crave it even more. And when that something is food, your cravings know no limits. Good food takes you to another world and that world is still untouched by the woes of real life. In that world, only happiness and only happiness exists….

Leave the worry at home & bask in the glory of Tagore beach, Karwar

I have inquisitive eyes that twinkle at the slightest joy. That’s what people tell me at least. And rightly so; my eyes do a lot of talking. And they specially become chatty when I go on a holiday. While on road, they are mostly anxious about what’s going to happen next and perpetually hop from…

NO to Shacks, YES to getting high: an unusual day in Goa!

The entry to the fort is a modest walk of 5 minutes like the beginning of a great musical. Once you enter the fort, you see a sprawling area all around you with space to organize many orchestras together. In the middle, there is a four-storeyed light house that must have aided in guarding the place. It still stands tall like a soldier of the armies that must have camped here, Standing tall, the fort refuses to budge, keeping a watch to ensuring that it’s city is safe and sound.

Hidden gems of India: Sparkling Kapu beach of Udupi, Karnataka

Those who want to skip the craziness of everyday life of a metropolitan; who want to experience what ‘quiet’ feels like; who do not fear the silence and can muster the courage to talk with self when no one is watching and no one is listening – would love the serene and undiscovered beach of Kaup in Udupi, Karnataka.

Bare bodies and bare souls, Varanasi

We began with the Ghat where people were bathing and swimming like they were in a pool. A mere dip in the river was supposed to wash away their sins. However, the bare, unclad bodies did not bother anyone and no amount of constant stares could bring embarrassment to the subject.

Toy train ride from Kalka to Shimla: Don’t even think about it!

Beware of every blog that talks highly about the toy train ride from Kalka to Shimla; none of the authors have actually been through the journey themselves. The one who has traveled in the Shimla-Kalka toy train understands the pain of aching muscles, hurting joints & stiff neck. After 6 long hours when the torture ends, you come out of the train a little shorter & a lot crazier.

Toy train ride is only meant for kids below 10 years of age. With seats meant for dwarves, one can hardly adjust their bu** cheeks on the cushion. The space is enough only for one person which is why the other one sits half on the seat & half in the air.

This wasn’t enough which is why the Railways decided to play a game. They declared all compartments, general. So, anyone who has a ticket can board the bogie & stand above your head while you sit half on seat & half in the air. The only thing that salvages this journey is – the few moments of scenic routes during the journey.
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The fight for the window seat:

The railways want to have all their fun at the expense of toy train passengers which is why they have screwed up the seat numbering in the toy train. The window seat numbers indicate aisle seats while the aisle seats are numbered by the window. You can imagine the amount of fights that happen because of this.

Oh, did I use the word ‘aisle’?! Sorry, there is nothing like an aisle in a toy train. Since they can’t expect the passengers to hop above one another, they left a space of hardly 1 foot between two seats. One can’t even stand there.

As far as the luggage goes, you may very well keep it on your head since there is no space available to keep it. Or better, seat the luggage on the joke they call seats. And you sit over your luggage. That way, there will be at least one body part of yours that won’t pain at the end of the journey.

104 steps leading to the darkest waters of History: Agrasen ki Baoli, Delhi

“Kahan jana hai madam” “Agrasen ki Baoli” “Kya? Connaught Place?” “Nahin, Agrasen ki Baoli. Aapko nahin pata kya? Mandi house ke paas hai” “150 lagenge warna rehne do” With a long face, I checked for an Ola & booked a micro in exactly 2 minutes. The same story repeated. The Ola cabbie didn’t know ‘Agrasen…

Full of Eerie: Chunar Fort, Mirzapur

The Assistant Director of Gangs of Wasseypur died while filming at Chunar Fort, Mirzapur. The local priest says that he continuously flouted the rules of the fort in spite of numerous warnings & thus met his fate.  A travel enthusiast couple visits the fort & meets a guide who shows them the dungeons where they…

Breakfast at The All American Diner, India Habitat Centre

I am always on the lookout for good places to eat and drink tea or coffee. And I found one such place in the All American Diner in India Habitat Centre. The place has got the feel of the diners from the Hollywood movies of 80s with bright red seats and wide tables. The service…