Where they don’t mind bare bodies & celebrate vulnerable souls!

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.

Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky!

“He who owns this diamond will own the world, but will also know all its misfortunes. Only God, or a woman, can wear it with impunity.”, reads the curse of Koh-i-Noor. Clap inside the portico under the dome at the entrance of the fort and the sound will reach the person who is sitting in a…

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.

Food walk down the lanes of Vrindavan, Mathura!

Julia Child once said, “People who love to eat are always the best people.” I took this way seriously. And I am adamant to become the best of the best which is why I eat, gorge & binge. I have been through sizes – from ‘S’ to ‘XL’ – back to ‘S’ & then ‘M’….

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…

Rely on God when you ride a horse in Kufri, Shimla

A stretch strewn with rocks, boulders & stones; a ride that’s 15 -20 mins. long & your fate that’s entirely dependent on the mood & prowess of your horse that’s taking you uphill, crossing the muddy, swamps & maneuvering its way to Mahasu Peak. Oh, we are talking about the much-recommended experience of Kufri, Shimla –…

Rejuvenate in Nilgiris; 11 things to do in Ooty

After crossing 36 hairpin bends & breathing tons of fresh air, we reached Ooty from Mysore, in 6 hours. A city that knows no season other than Spring, Ooty (or Udhagamandalam), is a beautiful hill station in the Nilgiri hills. Beautiful mountains, green valleys, tall Eucalyptus trees & colorful flowers all around have together given the town…

Rendezvous with Gods in Somanathapura

Somanathapura is a small town, some 35 kms. away from Mysore. The town is famous for the Chennakesava Temple (Kesava orKeshava temple). These temples were built by Soma, a Dandanayaka (commander) in 1268 CE under Hoysala Empire King Narasimha III. That was the time when the Hoysalas were the major power in South India. Read more about Somanathapura temples…

Where the 70s come alive: Beatle’s Cafe in Rishikesh!

“Oh yeah I’ll tell you something I think you’ll understand When I say that something I wanna hold your hand” When the Fantastic Four – John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr played ‘I want to hold your hand’ in the 1960s, it was the dawn of a new era.  As they balanced the chords & managed…

Photo blog: Cultural Heritage & Architectural Wonders of Somanathapura

Whenever I think that I have traveled a great deal in India with a few places left to visit; a new place pops up on the maps & I would be awestruck by its beauty & magnificence. In our last trip to Gaganchukki & Barachukki falls, we visited Somanathapura temples and absolutely loved them. Like the ruins of…

Be a part of your own Jungle Book at Bandipur National Park!

Each one of us has a ‘Mowgli’ in us, waiting to manifest. All we need is a good, green Jungle (forest). Unleash your ‘Mowgli’ in Bandipur National Park. Who knows you might even spot a ‘Bagheera’ in the Jungle & befriend a ‘Baloo’?! Where the Deccan Plateau meets the Western Ghats, God created Bandipur National…

Art Abound: National Gallery of Modern Art, Delhi

‘Bride’s Toilet’ paints a beautiful picture of married and single women, celebrating the precious moments of life in simple ways. ‘Brahamacharis’ is a masterpiece illustrating how diversity exists in similarity. If you look in the eyes of the dark guy (at the left) of the painting, you feel he is looking at you back. Like he knows, you are trying to fathom the mystery of the painting, but won’t be able to do it unless he gives away the secrets. Try it!

This weekend, go visit – National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi

How I had a narrow escape while white water rafting at Rishikesh

Water Sports remain sports until something goes wrong. For me, it went all wrong. Well, nearly! To unwind from a long, exhausting week, I planned my weekend to Haridwar & Rishikesh last month. I planned for white water river rafting hoping that it will beat my Monday blues atleast for a month. With much excitement,…

11 ways to come closer to the divine in Vrindavan, Mathura!

I grew up watching Shri Krishna. I participated in the dramas that were organised on the eve of Janmashtami. I was frequently dressed as Kanha & a few times dressed as Radha; I remember that. Lord Krishna has always been a naughty figure of god – the one that taught us love. The one that…

The house of the Gods & the monkeys, Vrindavan.

Brindavan mein radhe radhe Sunrak gaon mein radhe radhe Kalideh per radhe radhe Adyedapat mein radhe radhe Taan gali mein radhe radhe Maan gali mein radhe radhe O’man gali mein radhe radhe Gokunj gali mein radhe radhe Siva kunj mein radhe radhe Prem gali mein radhe radhe Shringar bat mein radhe radhe Cheer ghat mein…

Bonjour! Beaches of the French Colony of India – Pondicherry!

“L’amour est la poésie des sens.” –  Balzac; meaning  Love is the poetry of the senses. Pondicherry (or Puducherry), a French colonial settlement in India until 1954, is a Union Territory bordered by Tamil Nadu state. The city still has the French touch with French architecture, French streets serving cheese & street signs reading in French. In many…

A sip of happiness: Kulhar Chai

They say that you can’t buy happiness. But you can buy a cup of tea. And that’s almost the same thing. Isn’t it?🙂 The world is full of tea lovers who will do anything and everything provided you bring them a cup of tea. And tea love is the best love in this world. Be…

The tales of a bygone era – Hampi Diaries, II

After our tour to Elephant Stable, Lotus Palace & Vittala temple, we proceeded towards the rest of the amazing monolithic structures of the marvellous village, Hampi. Have you visited ruins before? If yes, you must be familiar with the goosebumps one gets when you watch the broken walls, dismantled bricks of high buildings & long, glaring cracks…

The tales of a bygone era – Hampi Diaries, I

Like many of us, I grew up despising History Lessons. The long narratives of valiant battles & mercurial dynasties bored me. The odd dates with prime numbers, between which wars were fought, drained me. The long, difficult to pronounce – names of Emperors & Kings, sapped my energy. Little did I know that I will grow up to…

The white & the saffron of Vrindavan!

“There are over 6500 temples in Vrindavan. How many can you see in a day, Bhagat?“, said our guide to my father. This came as a response to my father’s naive question, “How many temples are there in Vrindavan? How long will it take to see them all ?”  To ensure that we cover the maximum temple…

Paradise in South – Kovalam, the beach city of Kerala

Coconut trees, Arabian Sea, Crescent-shaped beach, Lighthouses, Giant waves & sumptuous sea food, Kovalam is the paradise of the South, by all means. You might have seen, bathed in & surfed by a lot of beaches, but this beach will take your breath away. You might have hundred Kilometers of road on you, but this one will…

Fan of Sunsets? If yes, have you seen these?

In the words of Mattie Stepanek, “Sunset is still my favorite color, and rainbow is second.” Sunsets are gorgeous. And people who watch sun sets are gorgeous too. India is home to many such incredible places that take you to places far, far away – all with your eyes open. I, personally, love Sun sets….

In God’s own country, God’s own life!

Kerala – home to yummilicious food, green coconut trees, sapphire-blue beaches & sea life. There’s just so much in God’s own country to explore and experience that one or two trips will never suffice. In our recent trip to Kovalam beach , we encountered something new. Kovalam beach is gorgeous. It’s one of the most beautiful…

5 Travel Hacks that will always come to your rescue.

In the world of TripAdvisor & HolidayIQ, travelling has become fun & interesting. Whether you want to take a break from the 10*10 monotony or want to visit your favorite place, travel soothes you all the same. Planning the travel is even more fun – stay, food, itinerary or commute. Every little thing related to…

Where History Sings & the Gods dance – Badami Caves, Karnataka

Badmai cave temples, located  in the Bagalkot district in northern part of Karnataka, India – are a phenomenal example of architecture in rock-cut art. Formerly known as Vataapi Badami, the caves were built around the time of Chalukya dynasty, who ruled Karnataka from 6th to 8th century. Badami Caves are a monolithic structure with four major…

Eclectic, Colorful Mix: Surajkund International Craft Mela 2016

Surajkund International Craft Fair or Surajkund Mela is a very popular annual craft fair where many states and neighboring countries participate. They set-up their stalls and exhibit the best of Craft, Clothes, food and decor from their place. And people from Delhi, Haryana, Noida & Ghaziabad, flock in thousands to experience this eclectic colorful mix!  By the…

13 reasons why you should visit Delhi Haat every month!

Situated in the heart of Delhi, Delhi Haat is a brilliant example of what India stands for. Step inside Delhi Haat & you would understand what ‘Unity in Diversity’ means. Be it Momos from North East, Madhubani paintings from Rajasthan, intricate craft work from Orrisa and Jharkhand or beautiful embroidery items from Kashmir, Delhi Haat…

Magic in Marble: The Taj Mahal, Agra

No amount of words, no exceptional movie scenes & no description in History books can even remotely describe the beauty & magic that The Taj Mahal creates. Taj Mahal is instrumental in putting India on the global map of travel and tourism. It’s not only gorgeous but very mysterious. It’s said that the Taj changes shades…

5 things no one tells you about Alleppey backwaters.

Alleppey Backwaters, popularly known as – Venice of the East, is a popular tourist destination of India. In fact, Kerala tourism thrives on Munnar & Alleppey. Since the time I first heard the word ‘backwaters’, I imagined it was something of a miracle. When I were a kid, I almost believed that Alleppey Backwaters would…

Just Married? How about these 3 Awesome places for a post wedding shoot?

Greeting Cards, Coffee Mugs or Photography – everything is commercialized & customized these days. Over the past couple of years, the popularity of ‘pre-wedding shoot’ has grown more than that of Sunny Leone. You log on to Facebook & all you see  is – candid photographs of people – drinking water from the same tap…

How should you spend time in Auroville if you don’t meditate?

Back in 2013, after completing a huge project, I went on a break for 10 days out of which I decided to spend 3 in Puducherry. After the release of ‘Life of Pi’  in 2012, I have been rooting to experience the ‘French’ touch, they say exists in Puducherry (I am going to call it…

Royal Rajasthan presents Dharohar Dance Show in Bagore ki Haveli, Udaipur

200+ years old Haveli (mansion), 100+ rooms & numerous colorful,  glass jharokhas – that’s Bagore ki Haveli for you. Situated by Gangori Ghat in the vicinity of Pichola Lake, the Haveli offers a travel, back in time when ‘art’ was exclusive & ‘culture’ was revered. The silent corridors, airy balconies & open terrace, tell tales of a bygone royal era. The…

Picture yourself in the Pine forests of Palani Hills, Kodaikanal

Situated in the lap of Palani hills, Kodaikanal is one of the finest hill stations we have. As you drive towards Kodai, the landscape changes gradually with glimpses of Eucalyptus trees against the backdrop of Pine trees. Temperature falls down degree by degree & even before you realise, your hands start searching for a jacket. Cross the hairpin bends & in half an hour, you are in the hill station brimming with honeymoon couples.

Not just any coconut, it’s the king coconut!

Come South India, and all you see around- is – coconut trees – at all geometrical angles possible. You see tall, towering coconut trees, standing with pride. You see slightly flexible coconut trees pulling off all Yogamudras that you can’t even think of. You see coconut trees, one after the other, along the road, waving…

5 things, a true traveller won’t do!

No matter how much you have travelled, no matter how well you can write, no matter how great you can photograph; you are not a great traveller if you litter, cheat & hurt. In my opinion, you don’t qualify to be a traveller if you: Litter around: why do we travel? Because we love to see, observe…

Rich & Rustic Rock Art at Edakkal Caves, Wayanad

Edakkal Caves – the caves between the stones are an exemplary example of rock art. While the beautiful carvings of animals and human beings on the rocks signify the life of a long lost age, the mysterious symbols and designs depict multiple objects at the same time like the moods of a woman; neither can…

Jog Falls, Shimoga: magical, musical waters

If Hogwarts were for real & they planned on opening one in India, it had to be right here nearby Jog Falls, Shimoga. The Jog falls would have marked the boundary of the school. The auditorium where us the muggles (homosapiens) watch the light & sound show; the chosen ones would have used it for their quidditch practice. And the boring KSTDC Maurya Hotel would have provided for the classrooms & libraries.

Majestic Thar: Sam, Sand & Sun in Jaisalmer

When you are finally in the Thar, there is nothing but sand all around. Camels merge with the sand & the only thing that stands out is the stroke of colors – Colorful beads around the suave camel neck, colorful attires of ladies singing & dancing, colorful bands in the sky before, during & after the sunset. You might not know but there exists a romantic in you. And that romantic manifests in the Thar.

Conversations & Camaraderie over Chai at Cha Bar, Delhi

I grew up in a middle class, north indian, baniya family. We celebrate everything over chai. People have come over lunch – we make tea. They have had lunch – we offer tea. They have stayed back till evening – we force tea. And once they have gone, we soothe ourselves over sips of tea.

Include these 10 things in your next Road Trip!

Thinking of a road trip but worrying over whether it’s a good decision or not?! I would say, think not! Go on & hit the road! When you go on a road trip, you feel the travel. You breathe in the place, take stops at the local eateries & see for yourself how the landscape…

Find your happy place in the mini Switzerland of India – Khajjiar

You are in a meadow, millions of stars in the sky. Just the warm breeze, and the moonlight flowing through the trees. That’s your happy place, right? No? Oh, I forgot! That’s the happy place of Phoebe Buffay, the famous character from the epic TV Series, FRIENDS. When I first heard her describing her happy…