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…

Bodh Gaya, and the lessons of life!

I was in the queue, adjusting my mask & ensuring social distancing. My family was already inside the premises & I was still at the security check. Queues frustrate me – not because I have to wait for my turn but because there’s always some pushing & shoving going on. People behind you want you…

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…

Welcome to Sikkim

“Sabse bura log Dilli ka aata hai (The worst people we receive are from Delhi)”, my cabbie remarked. I couldn’t help but laugh at his candid and innocent ways. “Aap Dilli ka hai madam (Are you from Delhi?)” Well, you can say that I am from Delhi. Whether we go to Ladakh, Kanyakumari or Sikkim,…

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…

Pilibhit Tiger Reserve: Unbelievable, Untouched & Unexplored

India is home to more than 75% of wild tigers in the world today. While that might swell your chest with pride, don’t overlook the fact that we have been excessively reckless with our resources & gifts over the centuries. Back then when we were a country of many princely states where each king harboured…

Riding down memory lane, my first trip to Pondicherry in 2013!

Today, I am going to talk about my visit to Pondicherry back in 2013. It’s a special trip because I planned it four months in advance, and saved a fixed portion from my salary every month, while proudly defaulting on my education loan EMI. Just a week before the trip, a big launch was planned at work, and I have been working towards making that happen. Everything was happening like clock work, and I happily reached Puducherry with a bag full of amazing clothes and a heart full of desires. By the way, do you know how I thought of ‘Pondicherry’ of all the places?

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…

Away from the noise, the life in Manoribel, Mumbai

Every Monday, I drag my body with half a soul to work & begin running, only to take a pause on Friday night because the next morning won’t come with alarms and reminders. Sleeping like no one is watching on Saturdays & Sundays often help me find the rest of my missing soul, only to…

For my next spiritual retreat, I would head out to Ladakh, and this is why:

When I think of Ladakh, my compartmentalised heart gets flooded with joy, my three decade old memory that is on its way to develop early Alzheimer’s, starts behaving extraordinarily & pieces together my one week long Ladakh trip day-by-day. In that moment, my ever-anxious mind somehow manages to calm down, my heart beats a bit…

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…

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…

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…

The Golden Sunset from the old Nahargarh Fort, Jaipur

One of the many luxuries that travel brings with itself – is the gift of time. You could wake up at your own leisure. Go, take a walk, come back, rest some and then leave for the sight seeing. There’s just no better way to relax than this. Right? Well, no. Wrong! While we might…

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 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,…

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…

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…

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…

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,…

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…

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…

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 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…

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 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…

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…

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 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…

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. …

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…

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…