Category Archives: Tourism

Welcoming Monsoons

Piping hot fritters with ginger tea.... Pic:

Piping hot fritters with ginger tea….

…...with some hot ginger tea and piping hot pakoras.

Many people complain that the monsoons give them blues; however it has a complete opposite effect on me.  I feel happy and ready to hum a little song here and tap few steps there. There is an unbelievable spring in my walk.

Icing on the cake is – when I sit opposite my window overlooking the greens that Kerala is so popular for and watch the droplets make ripples in the backwaters; with of course a cup of hot ginger infused tea in my hand. A calorie conscious and weight watching mind stops me from indulging in fired crispy pakoras (fritters) too often. But hey, monsoons aren’t enjoyed with full vigour without those fritters.

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How to Travel from Delhi to Kolkata, and Back, in 83 Hours!!!



or, really, How Not to Travel in North India!!! :)  

This could be a trick question in some general affairs examination: what do you do when you have a week long break from work? The most common answer would probably spin around planning well in advance for an awesome holiday. Yet, if you are among those who are planning-impaired for whatever reason (like me), the responses to such questions are meandering essays which would make any reader blink in surprise and shock. Which is not to say is what your reaction will be after reading this account, but still, you are forewarned.

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Thar Desert

Thar Desert

The Lure of Desert Sands

While travel most often seems to begin with a thought and the near-immediate execution of the same, circumstances can sometimes prevent you from making a much desired trip for years. Such has been the case with me and the desert sands of Rajasthan. Despite having spent the bulk of my childhood in Delhi, with parents very willing to travel, I somehow never made it to any of the famed palaces of Rajasthan, let alone ride a camel. (In fact, the only camel-riding memory of mine comes from a visit to a zoo, I think in Madras/Chennai).

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View from the cliff #Varkala Pic: Priya Q
View from the cliff #Varkala Pic: Priya Q

This was my second visit to Varkala,a coastal town located north-west to Thiruvanathapuram (Trivandrum), Kerala . First time around, I was backpacking around Kerala with friends from Slovenia and Canada; and landed up in Varkala towards the end of our vacation. It was love at first sight.

For me, the charm of this little town lies on its 2-3 km stretch on the cliff. The cliff overlooks the ocean and has a lovely walkway, albeit not fully paved, at various stretches,but that really shouldn’t bother one much.

Cafes & shops that dot the cliff Pic: Priya Q

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Sacher Torte – its history and the recipe

Original Sacher Torte Pic:

Original Sacher Torte Pic:

One thing one must not miss while in Austria, specifically Vienna or Innsbruck is its café culture. With a colorful display of savories and desserts, one is spoilt for choice.

While walking around the Opera House in Vienna, my host pointed towards the 5 Star Hotel – Hotel Sacher. Built in 19th century, it’s one of the oldest hotel I was told.

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Ladakh – the splendor and that creative touch to its landscape!

Stunning Ladakh

Gompas, glistening-in sunrays- snow-peaked mountains, barren but equally mesmerizing landscapes, little lamas, grazing yaks, nomads on isolated mountains making yak cheese and butter, ever smiling locals who with contented-smiles-on-their-faces put most of us to shame who complain with all our luxuries,….etc. are some of the first thoughts that come to my mind as I think of Ladakh.

Apart from these thoughts, one also feels the emotions tugging at our hearts, when we think about what the brave soldiers of the Indian army go through in this desolate part of our country, while we led a secure life.

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A drive to remember – from Dehradun to Kalsi, Ponta Sahib, Chakrata and back!

Visit to Chakrata Pic:

Anticipating any long drive or travel gets me thinking about it, and wondering about the place and the people that I would meet there. It keeps my thoughts busy and me, very alert. Therefore the visit to Chakrata, in the hills, had me in a tizzy long before the day dawned, for we were living in Dehradun, a picturesque town in North India, and you cannot miss the sights and lights of the hills, every night from our city.

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One of it’s kind Seafood festival – Whitianga Scallop Festival

Whitianga Scallop Festival Pic:

For $40 you can be a part of the possibly New Zealand’s best Seafood Festival to be held on 15 September, 2012 between 10.00 and 17.00 hrs at Whitianga. Whitianga is the main settlement of Mercury Bay on the North Island of New Zealand.Located on the eastern coast, Mercury Bay is a V-shaped bay that was named by the famous British navigator / explorer Captain James Cook. With scenic views, landscapes, clean sandy beaches and sparkling waters on the Whitianga or Mercury Bay, this is surely a holiday haven. The Whitianga Scallop Festival will bring in talented local chefs cooking scallops and seafood in various styles. To fill up the other senses, there would be live bands providing quality entertainment in terms of music & live performances. For the aspiring cook in you, you can even take lessons in scallop making from celebrity chefs. As a pre cursor to the event 2012 Worlds Best Scallop Festival Recipe& 2012 Ode to the scallop has been announced. If you plan to be at the Whitianga Scallop Festival, ensure you and your friends have designed your dresses for there is an on-site dress-up competition as well. For more details about the event; check Want to explore Whitianga or Mercury Bay? Write to Stay tuned to our travel updates, enjoy travel tip, interesting trivias, photo travelogues etc everyday, by LIKING us on Facebook  
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A family secret through generations –Aranmula Mirror

Aranmula Mirror (Kannadi)

Aranmula is a small village on the banks of River Pamba, in the state of Kerala. Aranmula, ‘ar’ meaning six and ‘mole’ meaning bamboo, got its name when Lord Krishna, acting as the charioteer of Arjun, (from epic Mahabharata) was brought to the famous Parthasarthy temple on a raft made of 6 bamboos. Completely exclusive to Aranmula; the Aranmula Mirror (or Kannadi, as its known in Malayalam) is a mysterious creation by members of four families, who have kept the secret of making it, close to their hearts. For years, the secret has only been handed down from one generation to next, and hence the making of this mirror is still a secret! What is so typical or mysterious about this mirror, you may ask. The Aranmula mirror is made up of metal and not glass!!Records dating back to the 16thcentury, reveal that the metal mirror was in use in far off places like Egypt and Baghdad. One of the temples in Khajuraho depicts a woman looking at herself in the metal mirror while putting bindi to her forehead. Archeological excavations at Harappa have also brought about proof of the presence of a metal mirror made of copper. The Rig-Veda also mentions the presence of this metal mirror. Hence, it has been deduced by many, that the originators of this craft, migrated to South India and set the production of their craft in this small village, that has now become world famous. Or conversely, their craft was procured by travelers of yore and sold around the world! By the way, the British Museum in London has on display a 45cm tall Aranmula metal mirror in its collection!! Aranmula village is also known for its ancient temple dedicated to Lord Sri Krishna as Parthasarthy. According to another legend; around the 18th century, the artisans who were working on a crown for Lord Parthasarthy accidentally discovered the reflective property of a particular copper-tin alloy. They failed at reproducing the same effect in their subsequent works. Parvathi Amma, a widow in the community happened to dream about the correct composition of the metal and disclosed the information to the artisans. Since then, this craft is a close guarded secret within the family through various generations. Aranmula Mirror comes in varied size and priced upscale from 2000 INR and above. Most of the 5 star hotels in Kerala stock it in their curio shops to be sold as a unique gift. FIND us on Facebook   and enjoy travel tip, interesting trivias, photo travelogues etc everyday. You can also subscribe to our blog to read interesting travel stories, news from around the world…
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Beer Festival

Beer festival Pic:

People across the world take their beer very seriously; why else would you have Beer Festivals of international stature across the world at different periods of time? The Oktober festival @ Munich is the world’s most famous global beer festival, known as much for the beer as much as for the beer girls & the sauerkrauts. 14th China International Beer Festival at Xinghai Square in Dalian, a port city of Northeast China’s Liaoning province recently concluded on July 26, 2012. The event had more than 30 beer breweries from domestic cities and foreign countries such as Germany, the U.S., Czech Republic, Sweden, Ireland, Denmark, Japan and South Korea that took part in the beer festival, which offered over 400 different brands of beer!! Ta’ Qali, a small village in Malta is currently hosting ‘The Farsons Great Beer Festival’ that starts at 20:00 hrs every night till coming Sunday (5th August 2012). The festival offers the best local and international beer brands, coupled with the latest and most popular in local entertainment. Ta’ Qali is known for its national stadium which is the home stadium of the Malta national football team These festival are not just about beer, food is another highlight during such events; when foreign chefs make delectable food for the visitors. The inaugural Mumbai International Beer Festival was held in October 2011 in Mumbai, the first of its kind in India, there was live music, great food, brew education, blind tasting session,… etc as its highlights. Such beer events are regularly held all over America and gets participation from about 200 breweries offering over 800 beers! Few organizers take the excitement one level up by awarding the breweries in various categories! Want to make a beer tour in Belgium / Ireland / England, contact and let us craft one trip for you…:) FIND us on Facebook   and enjoy travel tip, interesting trivias, photo travelogues etc everyday. You can also subscribe to our blog to read interesting travel stories, news from around the world…  
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