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 sugar-laden tea 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 planted…

Once upon a time, in the old, dusty college street of Calcutta!

I am 34 years old and have been working for the last 12 years. At this point in time, I can afford all the best scents that are out there: Musk, Jasmine, Rose, Vanilla, Bergamot, Patchouli, Vetiver & Sandalwood. But even today, my absolute favourite thing to smell is an old, printed book. When I…

Cave 16, 30 and 34: a grand tour of Ellora Caves, Aurangabad

In the last five-seven years, I have seen more of Netflix, Amazon Prime and other OTT than sunrises and sunsets. No no, I am not complaining. After a long day of work that ends pretty late at night, one needs to unwind with some more content. But then, on vacations, whenever I do end up…

A day of eternal romance in Pahalgam, Kashmir

It was almost afternoon when we reached Pahalgam. It had started to drizzle. I craved tea and before I could say anything, the hotel manager declared, “The tea is coming, ma’am” as if he read my expressions. But no surprises there! I am quite expressive. Anyone with a pair of eyes and a mind can…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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,…

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…

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.

We are back & it’s awesome!

I want to begin by saying that you all are amazing people. The whole of last year, most of you kept hounding me about why I am not writing anymore. And I kept telling you that I would, as soon as I get some free time. To keep it off my mind and back, I…

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…

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…

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

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,…

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 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…

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…

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….

A life dedicated to travel

Till three years back, I used to take vacations – twice or thrice a year. Sometimes, I would go on picnics too to nearby weekend destinations such as Agra & Jaipur. I would pack a heavy bag & fill it with all kinds of vanity, countless clothes and shoes. Each vacation will precede with a…

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….

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…

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….

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, 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…

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…

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 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. …

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.

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…

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…

The tales of a bygone era – Hampi Diaries, II

After our tour to Elephant Stable, Lotus Palace & Vittala temple, we proceeded towards the rest of the amazing monolithic structures of the marvellous village, Hampi. Have you visited ruins before? If yes, you must be familiar with the goosebumps one gets when you watch the broken walls, dismantled bricks of high buildings & long, glaring cracks…

The tales of a bygone era – Hampi Diaries, I

Like many of us, I grew up despising History Lessons. The long narratives of valiant battles & mercurial dynasties bored me. The odd dates with prime numbers, between which wars were fought, drained me. The long, difficult to pronounce – names of Emperors & Kings, sapped my energy. Little did I know that I will grow up to…

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…

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.

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.