Built Four, Shown Two; Char Minar from the city of Nizams

“Banaunga Chaar, dikhaunga do” said my Guide pointing towards the three, visible minarets of the Char Minar and moved forward with a stride that was increasingly difficult for me to match. We were in the acoustic marvels of India where you could clap at one end and the echo of it would be heard at…

The place of epiphany: the great Ashoka & Kalinga War

After having won the never-before Kalinga, the great emperor achieved what no one had done before him. But at what cost? This question would haunt him day and night & soon the great Mauryan emperor renounced everything and turned a monk. Over the years, he would play an instrumental role in heralding Buddhism in Indian…

The Scotland of India: Coorg, Karnataka

“Why don’t you go to Europe? It’s gorgeous.” “If you can’t afford Europe, explore Asia. That’s equally beautiful too.” “What’s so great about India that you take every other trip domestic only.” And if you think that, you clearly haven’t explored India because you can draw parallels between every other foreign exotic location and an…

The Jewel of India: Kashmir

Imagine yourself opening a box that’s been lying in the storage of your house. You don’t want to go, open the box because you dread the dust, the allergies & the dark. You know the box houses precious items but you put it off because – “who would enter the moist, damp & dark storage?”….

Paradise on Earth – of Tulip Gardens, Kashmir

गर फिरदौस रूहे ज़मीं अस्त  हमीनस्तो, हमीनस्तो हमीनस्तो!  If there is a paradise on earth, It is this, it is this, it is this! I never knew that Kashmir was so beautiful until I saw it. I often heard about the place as a child & I grew up reading about Kashmir & its beauty…

The eternal sunshine of a snow-clouded mind!

Tons of ice-creams, volumes of ice & electricity bills running to pages – is how we beat heat here in North India. For all the love we have shown to the moon in our poetry and novels, we ended up offending the big daddy & he has decided to teach us a lesson with soaring…

Shhhh! The pursuit of Erotica in Khajuraho

An overnight train journey in a second AC compartment with a bunch of young people, my book & a good looking husband who knows a lot of random stuff is how my pursuit for erotica began. As I busied myself with the days of Malgudi, a chemistry was building up between the guy I married…

India beyond mountains & monuments: the incredible life

When Yann Martel won the Man Booker Prize in 2001 for his book, ‘Life of Pi’, many applauded his writing style, his imagination & the ability to build characters. Look at the protagonist – Piscine Patel, who was teased as Pissing patel, and his ingeniousness to rechristen himself as ‘Pi’. Tremendous & Terrific! I, however,…

The incredible Karnataka: of beaches, lighthouses & hills!

I have never been a party person. Those have always bored me with their obsession with absence of Vitamin D, music that threatens your eardrums & rules about how to dress up, who to speak with & how much to speak. I don’t like that. I like places that let me be where I can…

The Surviving Wheels of Time of Konark Sun Temple, Odisha!

What do you think when you think of time? Plenty at hand? Never enough? Fast slipping through fingers? Or Who cares? Or do you wonder where did it all go? I regularly look at my wrist watch & back calculate – how much is left till I do this, leave office, reach home, or have…

Jai Jagannath – echoes of enigma that remain a mystery!

“Jai Jagannath! Jai Jagannath! Jai Jagannath!” The small compound was echoing with these loud shouts. And with that went many hands in the air, of devotees! I was tempted to join them in chanting when another sound came from the background. It was a familiar sound; I had often heard it in movies – typical…

What they don’t tell you about Travelling – that goes wrong!

It all sounds state-of-the-art: weekend getaways, candid shots, losing oneself in the middle of nowhere & leading a life that’s a little better, a tad bit more fulfilling & slightly enriched than others. But travelling is not always as glorious as the listicles or podcasts make it sound. It’s uncomfortably sometimes, can be dangerous if…

Five ideas of perfect Valentine holiday destinations!

Come February & people begin talking about Valentine’s Day. From the time I can remember, there used to be such energy in school that we no longer needed Physics Classes to understand Laws of Conservation of Energy. We just knew. Exams would be round the corner. Revisions would be on. But the second week of…

Where they worship a Royal Enfield: Incredible India

India is an incredible country. We got all sorts here – admiring cows, paying respects to Banana & Banyan trees, marrying little girls to the idols in temples, worshipping in a place riddled with mice or bats & planning excursions to places with large ice bodies. And we do all that in style, in faith…

Chasing Strawberries in Mapro Garden, Panchgani, Mahabaleshwar

Some of the best memories of my life somehow have food in it. These memories – of a great conversation over holidays, gorging rum & raisin cakes, a late night party with pizzas and drinks, a trip to some place remote with nothing in tummy but Maggi & Chai & the best – endless trips…

Top five holiday recommendations for the first long weekend of 2018

Much like the first date of teenage years, I am excited, hopeful & highly optimistic about the first weekend of this new year since this means vacation. Have you thought of the venue yet? 26th January is a Friday (drum roll) & the non-banking populace of India can spend these three days in style. It’s…

Bhimtal Diaries: The station near the hills

A chanced picture on my Facebook feed, a familiar name and the appetite for a break took me to Bhimtal last year where I spent three days, off the grid. No Facebook, no WhatsApp, no emails and no phone calls. Don’t believe it? Okay, 3 phone calls every day. Still, don’t believe me? Well, a…

The poetic Chittaur of Meerabai

मेरे तो गिरधर गोपाल दूसरो न कोई॥ जाके सिर सोई। तात मात भ्रात छांड़ि दई कुलकी कहा संतन ढिग बैठि बैठि लोक ई॥ किये टूक लीन्हीं लोई। After many battles & political tug-of-war, Chittaur was rising again but this time with the melody, like never before. Chittaur by then had witnessed many episodes of pride, valor…

Of Incredible India: Asaf-ud-Daula & Bada Imam Bara of Lucknow

Unmatched Heritage, proud legacy, splendid stories, indigenous craft, envious art & architecture & delicious food – India is all that & more & this is precisely why India is incredible. In this series, we will bring the untold stories from the nooks and corners of the country, waiting to be heard. Stories from the forgotten…

Hungry for travel? Here’s your 2018 bucket list!

2018 is here and with that comes 16 long weekends and at least 20 days of paid leave for us – lesser beings – who have to work (supposedly) 9 am to 6 pm, five days a week to earn a living & thus the means to – travel, travel & travel. No matter how…

Game for some bird watching in Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary?

Freedom is a funny thing. You only get to appreciate it once you don’t have it. The more you fight for it, the more you crave it. How does freedom feel like? To me, it is – spreading my wings & flying high with nothing to control me or pull me back. The sky is…

The mighty warrior of Mewar: Rana Sangha

Chittaur hadn’t celebrated to its full yet, and destiny played its cards.  After the untimely demise of Rana Kumbha, Chittaurgarh came under dark once again and silently watched itself getting broken into parts. Now, all Chittaur had to do was wait – wait for its redemption & resurgence. Luckily, Chittaur didn’t have to wait for long….

Great wall of Kumbhalgarh – of King Kumbha of Chittor

Enter Mewar and look around – you will find yourself surrounded by forts to the point your eyes may stretch & beyond that. These forts are generally accompanied by lakes, ponds or bawris (stepped wells) now tended by localites who would don colorful attire from top to bottom. While ladies will be seen in tye-dye…

My Sully Moment: Flight no. #i5799

My first instinct was to check online – while I was up in the air – as to how to get out of a plane crash. Two seconds later I realised that Google won’t work so high. I frantically take out the card in the back pocket of every seat & read instructions on how to life jacket myself. I started groping for one under my seat, but couldn’t locate one. I got jolted & almost lost a tooth. 

The Golden Temple of God: Harminder Sahib, Amritsar

Swarn Mandir or fondly referred as ‘The Golden Temple’ (‘Sri Harmandir Sahib’) is a pilgrimage site of Sikhism (religion), but is equally revered by Hindus (specially from North India). It’s a gurudwara, a large part of which is made of Gold. And just like Gold, the place is pure and pious. The moment you enter the…

Nosh Farmaiye ki aap Lucknow me Hain!

Nosh Farmaiye ki aap Lucknow me Hain! (meaning – Have a taste for you are in Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh). आस्मान की क्या है ताकत जो चुराये लखनऊ| लखनऊ मुज पर फिदा है, मा फिदा-ए-लखनऊ|| Not only for its heritage, culture, legacy and art, Lucknow is also popular for its food. Tunday Kabab,…

The Baisakhi of 1919 – the black day of India!

It was the beginning of the harvest season and one of the biggest festivals of India – Baisakhi. People from all over the country had gathered to join the festivities and live a day of joy & happiness. They bowed their head at the holy shrine in the morning and proceeded with the day. Most…

953 Jharokhas and one big Hawa Mahal

A king admires a palace & secretly wishes to build a similar/ better one in his own country and thus ends up building a beautiful, huge palace with many outlets to the outer world. The search for a ‘home’ never ends. A home – that’s yours, where you find peace, where you can be yourself….

2017 so far, travel-wise!

I have been out of action for a few months now. 2017 started with a bang and before I realised, I slipped under a mountain of work. While I found my way out, blogging took a backseat. I was away for some months from my blog, but not from travel. My weekends were mostly spent…

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…

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…

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…