The Savanna of India: Blackbuck National Park, Velavadar

The best things in life are often chanced upon. They make their way into your life serendipitously when you expect them the least. The same thing happened to me a few weeks back when we had planned to spend a day in Velavadar. It was supposed to be a halt on our return journey from…

The flamboyant & the cinematic City Palace of Udaipur

Wherever you live on this planet – India, Asia, the US or Europe, chances are that you have heard of (or stayed in) this luxurious, heritage resort of India that floats on a lake – the magnificent Taj Lake Palace of Udaipur. Taj Lake Palace (formerly known as Jag Niwas) is known for many reasons…

A piece of Portugal in Diu, the Diu Fortress

The most fun part about taking a road trip is the luxury to take a stop whenever, wherever you want to. You can improvise the itinerary on the go & visit the places that you won’t visit otherwise. This is why I love road trips. On one such road trip to Gujarat, Diu became a…

Igatpuri, in the Western Ghats: found on maps but not by cabs

Like a coin, every tourist place has two sides. There’s often a known side that’s exaggerated in blogs & glorified by travellers. It’s usually the good stuff that someone would tell you about after having spent their hard-earned money on a trip to that place. And then there’s an unknown side that everybody knows but…

7 things YOU don’t do in a Tiger Reserve or a forest!

India is an incredible country, home to the Western Ghats & the Himalayas & more. We have got Alpine, Rainforests, Tropical & Subtropical forests & more. 50,000+ species of plants & 40,000+ species of animals stay in India. So, yes, India has got gorgeous forests & must-visit tiger reserves. You don’t even have to be…

Ranchi – the smart city of waterfalls, niceties & poise

What comes to your mind when you hear about Ranchi?! (Bombay people – it’s the capital of Jharkhand, just so you know.) Mahendra Dhoni, Erstwhile Bihar, or maybe the cult movie, Gangs of Wasseypur? At least that’s what comes to my mind. That, and my ex-roommate & super-cool friend, Neha Bharti from Ranchi, who shares…

A day in Raipur, the capital of Chhattisgarh

On my recent road trip to Bihar, Jharkhand & Chattisgarh, the last stop was Raipur & then we were to go back home via Jabalpur, MP. We started early morning from Ranchi to drive down to Raipur. The trip was to end in another 2-3 days. I wanted to make the most of whatever was…

Meet the prince of Jhalana – Rana, the leopard

Leopard is an interesting animal. It sometimes enters residential areas, attacks the pets & creates a terror amidst (otherwise terrifying) homo sapiens. Other times, it’s rarely seen. While you can certainly count the number of tigers in a forest, you can’t really ascertain the number of leopards. Why? Because it’s a super elusive animal, who…

Ye Sheher Muskurata hai!

“I am going to buy Chikankari today itself”, I told myself, almost making it sound like a project, taking all the joy of shopping out of it. In another couple of hours, I was in Lucknow, waiting outside Dastarkhwan along with 20 other people. There were a variety of Kebabs, around me, happily marinating, placed…

Mountains NEVER called me. I showed up uninvited.

The Mountains are calling and I must go”. When John Muir wrote this in a letter to her sister, in 1873, sitting somewhere in Yosemite Valley, little did he know that in another 140 years, his letter would become public knowledge and his words would form one of the most popular headlines ever to announce the love for mountains. When I think of mountains, I think of my childhood. That’s where it all began anyway.

I am out of Bombay & Bombay is out of me. But there’s more.

One fine day in the January of 2019, I decided to move my base from Ghaziabad. I badly needed a change of scene. So, I started exploring my options which (I realised after a while) didn’t exist. In times like these, I turn to wiser people for advice. Even then, I turned to one of the…

Sign up for a visual treat at Pushkar fair, 2018

Somebody said that all good things in life are free. I couldn’t agree enough – a warm sunny afternoon in December, or dipping your feet in a gushing stream of water, or the colorful spread on an otherwise clean sky on evening – all are free, and the best of experiences. I thought I had seen…

The quest for Neelakurinji- the once in 12 years wonder

2018 was the year of many things – of data breaches, of executive resignations, of political upheavals, natural disaster, of new records in Sports. For me personally, it was a year of new insecurities, never-known fears, and long days that were spent being stressed. 2018 was also the year of Neelakurinji, the flower that blooms…

12 Lifetime experiences from Incredible India

‘Which one is your favorite place?’, people often ask me. And when I take time to think about one, they are like, ‘Come on, there’s got to be a favorite’. And I think harder but I can’t seem to place one as favorite over others. Because it’s just not the places but what you have…

12 Lifetime experiences from Incredible India

‘Which one is your favorite place?’, people often ask me. And when I take time to think about one, they are like, ‘Come on, there’s got to be a favorite’. And I think harder but I can’t seem to place one as favorite over others. Because it’s just not the places but what you have…

Coffee tales straight from Chikmagalur, Karnataka

Once upon a time, there was a country that drank tea. The country and its countrymen were happy sipping this sugar-laden beverage until one Baba Budan Giri decided to give Coffee to his country, and thus began the coffee journey of India. It’s being said that Baba Budan Giri brought Coffee seeds to India and…

How to NOT be a spoilsport when travelling in groups

Remember School Picnics when the senior most kids would occupy the last seat and you would be left with the ‘unwanted’ ones – those next to the teachers. And while sitting on those hot seats, you would eye the back seaters who would play Antakshari and dance, while the only awesome company you had was…

A weekend trip to the British Summer Capital – Shimla

I remember the new year of 2018. One of my many resolutions were to grow my Instagram followership by posting daily. Did it grow? Yes, but not substantially. It just feels like yesterday- scrolling my Instagram feed & looking at my ever-stagnant Twitter followers on the 31st of 2017. And it’s September of ’18 already….

The touch of love: Allepey Backwaters, Kerala

Kerala – God’s own country is not called God’s for no reason. Dotted with coconut trees, situated by the coast, with sultry weather most of the year, balmy air in the evenings, full of tea plantations in shades of Green, with myriad beaches & backwaters, pioneer of Ayurveda treatments, skilled in Kuchipudi & their own…

15 gems from 15 states of Incredible India: travel today!

As most of you know, Life on Weekends was born in the November of 2015. And since then, I have been blogging on and off, but travelling constantly. I began as a naive traveller who would want to holiday anywhere (and everywhere) glamorous, dress well & click pictures (tons of it), and spam my Facebook…

Are you thankful enough? You would be at Hall of Fame, Ladakh

Come Fridays and my mind lights up a like a bulb. I get all the 51 ideas to make my life awesome, and not only the Left or the Right, but unknown sides of my brain get activated because my mind is endlessly creating lists of ‘how to make your weekends awesome’. It doesn’t end…

Five places of evergreen tourism of my state, Uttar Pradesh

“Where do you come from? Delhi or Noida?” “Which part of Delhi do you come from?” When I answer, ‘Ghaziabad’ to these questions. I swear, their eyeballs bulge & tongues come out. People in Delhi & all the villages and cities around Delhi think that people from Ghaziabad dress in Black kurta-pyjama, speak in vernacular…

The ever so young & ever so wise – Amer fort of Jaipur

Situated at a height & spread across an area of 4 kms., Amer keeps a watch on Jaipur, from 11 kms. away. Amer probably never goes to sleep, partly because it stands guard over Jaipur, but mostly because it’s always thinking of the good times, remembering it & taking pride in it. Decades of royal…

Ditch your routine and chase the monsoons in Goa

Most of the days I wake up dreading what’s awaiting me during the day (not all, but parts of it). Some days I wake up with a smile on my face, because I got to sleep till late that day. No points in guessing that those days belong to weekends. Sleeping till late is not…

The trip of a Lifetime: 7 nights & 8 days in Leh Ladakh

Did you have a best friend when you were growing up? The one whom you would look forward to meet every evening. The one who would totally get you, talk to you the way no one had, listen to your problems, give you workable solutions & won’t make a big deal out of anything. The…

How you can take 12 trips in 12 months

‘How do you travel so much?’, I am often asked. The simple answer to this one is, ‘Well, I want to.’ Then, people ask me how do I manage to travel so much. Well, to that, there’s a bunch of things I do to manage travelling in a schedule as busy as it gets. So,…

Mehrangarh Fort: a photo story

My close friends tell me that I am an old soul. And they are right for I am an old soul. I love all ancient things & I see the beauty in them even if they are broken, ruined or chipping away. But some old things are as good as new. Ain’t they? Mehrangarh Fort,…

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 finish this presentation, excuse myself from another meeting…

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…

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…

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…

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…