12 things to take with you on your upcoming trip to Leh, Ladakh

Thanks to the growing popularity of travel bloggers, social media influencers, and the movie ‘Three Idiots’, Leh Ladakh has become a must-visit place on every idiot’s…errr I meant traveller’s itinerary. Come Summers, and people go berserk about making their already difficult life even more difficult by flying to Ladakh and gasping for breath at high…

A sultry afternoon inside the royal, splendid Mysore Palace

That was the year of Neelakurinji and that was the year of natural disasters. Twice we rescheduled our tickets to Munnar to view the once in a 12 years wonder! We could manage the trip, the third time. We were lucky; we could manage glimpses of Neelakurinji & left Munnar in time. The day we…

Salar Jung Museum & the veiled Rebecca

Disclaimer: The veiled Rebecca statue by Giovanni Maria Benzoni & the book Rebecca by Daphne du Murier has no correlation whatsoever in the real world. Please excuse my book-fanatic mind that couldn’t help but fit in pieces of Rebecca, the book in a blog about the the veiled Rebecca, the masterpiece by Benzoni. “I wish…

Another token of eternal love, Bibi ka Maqbara of Aurangabad

Shahjahan made Taj Mahal in the memory of his wife, Mumtaz. Five centuries later, the Taj is still a wonder to behold. Magic in marble, as they say.Rumour has it that there were plans to build another Taj right opposite to this one. Before he could do that, Aurangzeb captured his father & Shahjahan spent…

12 amazing experiences in the land of one-horned rhinoceros, Assam

After having visited Sikkim in 2021, I have been craving for more of Northeast India. You know, how greed works. 😀 Not for exploring mountains, waterfalls or altitude, but for finding an escape from the daily life, for reminding myself that life can be simpler & meaningful, and for meeting people who haven’t yet been…

4 days and 3 nights in Odisha: a travel itinerary

It was my parent’s 30th anniversary. Actually it was the 31st anniversary but we will pretend that it was their 30th. Because 30th sounds way cooler than 31st. 😉 We wanted to celebrate with them by taking them out on a holiday. My father was still working at that time, and he was still not…

The smoky Dhuandhar Falls of Bhedaghat, Madhya Pradesh

Dhuandhar Falls are situated in Jabalpur district of Madhya Pradesh, India. Famous for its Marble Rocks, Jabalpur is also the launchpad/ central point for the most beautiful Tiger Reserves of India such as Bandhavgarh, Kanha, Pench & Panna. While the best time to visit the falls is monsoons, I happened to pay a visit in…

Sabarmati Ashram | The stunning start to India’s Great Independence

“A man is but a product of his thoughts. What he thinks he becomes.” – Mahatma Gandhi Situated by the bank of Sabarmati, Gandhi Ashram (also known as Sabarmati Ashram) is a place of mythological significance, a place of worship, the land of duty (Karmabhoomi) & a significant milestone in India’s Independence journey. On 12th…

Abandoned tales of an admired country: Kashmir of Incredible India

Disclaimer: This post is a combination of my experiences as a child who lived in North India & as an adult who has worked with people from Kashmir, travelled to Kashmir & spoken with locals. I do not claim anything. I know no mechanism to decipher truths. Only stories…that I am sharing here. All pictures…

10 things to do in Calcutta (Kolkata), the cultural capital of India

Vir Sanghvi once said, “Calcutta is not for everyone. You want your cities clean and green; stick to Delhi. You want your cities, rich and impersonal; go to Bombay. You want them high-tech and full of draught beer; Bangalore’s your place. But if you want a city with a soul, come to Calcutta.” Having lived…

Thin air, low Oxygen & high altitude: Zero Point, Sikkim

A night before trekking to mountains or any other gruelling travel, I go to bed early. My body, soul & mind reach a consensus like it often happens between cross-functional teams before a tight deadline. There’s a certain calm that I feel with no anxiety, no worry and no bad memories. No matter the content…

Seven Truths about Bihar, Jharkhand & Chattisgarh

Most of you know that I was on a personal mission to visit all 28 states (29, then) of India by 2020. My own 2020 mission! I was making good progress and had done 15+ states by 2018. But then, life happened and all my travel plans were stalled & readjusted. It happens. It’s Life….

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…

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…

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…

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.

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…

God’s own country needs us. Show some love for Kerala

I have been going to Kerala for years now. Munnar was almost like home with its picturesque views and Green landscapes. We would often pick our car from Bangalore or Mysore and drive to Munnar enjoying the forest reserves and wildlife sanctuaries on the way. And it breaks my heart to see Kerala suffering this…

Happy 72nd, India! STAY INCREDIBLE.

कुछ बात है कि हस्ती मिटती नहीं हमारी सदियों रहा है दुश्मन दौर–ए–ज़माँ हमारा India – one of the oldest civilizations of the world, famous for its unity in diversity, blessed with changing landscapes from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, tolerant of religions and faiths where Hindu kids celebrate Christmas as much as they celebrate Diwali, Christian…

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

You know why we call India, Incredible?! Because in no other country of this world, you will find such diversity of opinion, culture, food, language, clothes, art, handicraft, topography, flora and fauna, religions, festivals, terrain and beliefs. No other country. Period. Wherever you go in this country, you see a glimpse of ‘unity in diversity’….

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 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?”….

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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….

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 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…

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…

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…

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…

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 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…

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…

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.

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…