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. 

What a Fish: Shivsamundram, Karnataka

“Meen, meen”, cried the young lady with the biggest smile I had seen the entire day. When we looked in that direction, a wave of spices wafted through the air – spices just been fried in oil. Oh, it made me drool. Before I could say anything, someone had hit the brakes. It was the…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

50 shades of green in Munnar!

If life can be arid like the deserts of Rajasthan, or tropical like the beaches of Chennai and Puducherry, it can also be poetic, romantic & dreamy like Munnar, the pretty hill station of Kanan Devan Hills, Idukki in God’s own country, Kerala. The mornings of Munnar are the most poetic when the golden Sun…

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, 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 on my…

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…

An evening on the shores of Sangam, Kanyakumari!

Memory is a strange thing. It follows no pattern and works totally, at random like the traffic in Delhi NCR. In the middle of ultra-serious discussions in office, I get reminded of a joke from last night’s episode of Modern Family. There are days when I particularly feel invincible, but that feeling remains short-lived because…

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 in 2016 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…

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…

The Chai that never disappoints: Meri wali Chai at Chaayos

Come winters and my daily count of Chai (tea) soars like the weighing machine scale every morning. These days, I am on a count of 5-7 mugs of ginger-brewed tea with cinnamon powder sprinkled on the top. The ginger must be brewed for 2 mins. before adding tea leaves (powder) or you don’t get the flavor right. And…

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

UPDATE as on November 2021: It’s absolutely cruel to cage animals & show them off like objects. Animals belong in the wild. And if we want to spend some time in their company or in their habitat, we must go to Tiger Reserves, National Parks or Bird Sanctuaries. This is why I haven’t been to…

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…

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.

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…

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…

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…

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….

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…

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…

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 of Nagaland stall, Madhubani paintings of Bihar, 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…

8 Mobile Apps. that every traveler must have.

2016 looks impressive in terms of extended weekends. Club your leave with optional offs & get yourself a holiday. Whether you are a crazy planner or believe to be ‘in the moment’, there are a few mobile apps. that make our lives easier & our travel happier. Here is a list of top eight mobile…

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 Gangaur 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…

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.

Nainital: 7 must-do’s in the foothills of Kumaon

The honeymoon destination of 80s & 90s – Nainital -is one of the most beautiful, commercialized & planned hill stations of India.

Situated in the Kumaon foothills of mighty Himalayas, this hill station still manages to take your breath away. If you visit it in Summers, the bright, green colors of Pine & Oak tress leave you amazed & happy. And if you visit Nainital in winters, it takes you straight to the Bollywood movie scenes of 90’s where a newly wed couple is aiming & throwing snowballs at each other & suddenly the ‘heroine’ slips on the slippery, white snow only to be caught by the ‘hero’ in time.