WORLD is a book and those who do not travel have read only one page. Explore uncertain roads, unknown destinations and diverse cultures with Travel Diaries.

Showing posts with label Review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Review. Show all posts

Wander wheels - Hyundai ‘Next Gen Verna’...

Hyundai Verna is one of the globally acclaimed offering from Hyundai with over 8.8 Million Customers in more than 66 countries and already 3.19 lakh units sold in India.

Sporty and dynamic looks blended with luxurious interiors, Next Gen Verna is all set to redefine Premium Brand Statement. Since its launch on 22nd July 2017, the car is quickly becoming a vehicle of preference for the Indian customers.

Share:

Food you can't miss in Old Delhi

Purani Dilli is heaven for food lovers in winter, and for all things sweet, savoury and spicy.

Freshly-baked naan khatai. (Below) The chaat spread; Gobhi samosa and matar kachori; Charcoal-grilled paneer tikka.
Share:

Past perfect in Old Delhi

If you want to see the Delhi of old books and stories, spend a day in Purani Dilli.

The life in the lanes of Old Delhi. (Below) A tea vendor; The happy coexistence; Mirza Ghalib ki haveli.



My first tryst with Old Delhi, its Chandni Chowk, and other lanes had ended in a mutual dislike. All of 10, its chaos, crowd and odours were all a bit too overwhelming or beyond comprehension for me. For the flag-bearers of Delhi-bred Gen X, like me, Delhi was New Delhi, with its broad roads, South Delhi malls and new markets. Old Delhi didn’t fit into my idea of the Capital.
Once I gained some wisdom with age and developed appreciating taste-buds, Old Delhi’s narrow maze-like streets and ways were no less than treasure tracks. From once promising myself to never set a foot in that place again, I gradually turned into a life-time admirer of this part of Delhi.
The trips to Old Delhi with my father became the breeding ground for many stories and experiences. The food elsewhere after that was never to be had without drawing a comparison with the same from Old Delhi.
I still remember that shop in Khari Baoli (Asia's largest wholesale Spice market selling all kinds of herbs, lentils, rice and tea ) where my father and I would go to for buying our annual dose of saffron for kheer and other sweets. To reach his shop we had to climb up two levels of stairs. On the first floor, the Nepalese saffron-seller’s family would ask us a lot of questions to ascertain we were mere buyers and no one else. We would then be allowed to ascend to the second floor and wait for him in a room. He would then come with a lot of keys and open his big safe.
The sheer process of him taking out small plastic containers filled with saffron from around the world, sitting wrapped in cotton beds, would make me feel like living in a fictional world of secrets and unknown places. Armed with enough knowledge about saffron, just when I would think I have become ‘Miss know-it-all’, this largest spice market of Asia would stump me. I would righty guess the aroma of cloves, cardamom or cinnamon in that highly fragrant air. Then suddenly I would find myself standing dumbfounded at some shop. There was always a spice or two that I had never seen. That place introduced me to star anise. A live school beyond comparison! Perhaps why famous poet Mohammad Ibrahim Zauq said:
In dinon garche dakkan mai hai badi qadr-e-sukhan
Kaun Jaye ‘Zauq’ par Dilli ki galiyan chhod kar

Those Dilli ki galiyan would then treat me the most authentic of recipes and freshest of flavours. For me, no one can still match up to Natraj ke dahi-bade, Chawri Bazaar ki chaat, Nai Sarak ki kachori, Fatehpuri ki kulfi and the rest. Those serpentine lanes and bylanes of Old Delhi might be a chaotic setup for many, for others like me they were and still are a place for exploration. No doubt, even large number of foreigners can be found exploring this charming spot of Delhi. Perhaps there is no other Purani Dilli on this earth.
You just need to visit Mirza Ghalib's haveli, spend some hours wandering in those lanes, soaking in the music that I always found in that commotion, and you would also get mesmerised by Old Delhi. A walk through the rooms where Ghalib spent last days of his life would make you also fall in love with this place all over again.
Mirza Asadullah Beg Khan, famously know as Mirza Ghalib, made romantics out of many with his ghazals and shayari. Though born in Agra in 1797, it was Delhi that saw the best of him after he moved here which was soon post his marriage at the age of 13. His residence in Gali Qasim Jan, Balli Maran, is a heritage site not only for the archaeologists but almost a pilgrimage for his fans and followers. The sheer Mughal era look of the place, with bricks, sandstones and a huge wooden gate, Ghalib's couplets and literature for the company, is a perfect way to end a day at Old Delhi. You can almost imagine the Delhi of Ghalib through his ghazal:
Ballimaraan ke mahalle ki wo pecheeda daleelon ki si wo galiyan,
Saamne taal ke nukkad pe batero ke qaseede,
Gurhgurhati hui paan ki peekon mein wo daad wo wah-wah,
Chand darwaaze par latke huye boshida se kuch taat ke parde,
ek bakri ke mamiyaane ki awaaz,
Aur dhoondhlayi hui shaam ke be-noor andhere,
Aise deewaron se moonh jor kar chalte hai yahan,
Churi-waalan ke katri ki bari bee jaise,
Apni bujhti hui aankhon se darwaaze tatole,
Isee be-noor andheri see gali qaasim se,
Ek tarteeb charaghon ki shuru hoti hai,
Ek quran-e-sukhan ka safa khulta hai,
Asadullah Khan ‘Ghalib’ ka pata milta hai.

And, who knows if you are paying attention you might even find yourself in these lanes, just like these poets did.

Share:

Of food, fun and the run in Jaipur

Jaipur by Nite ended with great food, live music and marathon.


When you are left with a follow-up act to something as soul-stirring as a musical night by Mame Khan and Indian Ocean, the task is indeed a tough one. The ultimate day, or night – Bite Fest, of Jaipur by Nite, however, didn’t fade out to penultimate evening of divine rhythms and musical bliss.
Just think of daal-baati-churma, the spicy panchmela daal and crispy baatis dipped in desi ghee with sweet coarse churma, and you would be lying if you didn’t salivate a bit. Add to that the authentic Rajasthani methi-mangodi ki sabzi served with makki and bajre ki roti, lehsun ki chutney and sangari ka achaar making for those perfect accompaniments, and I am sure you would have found your own heaven right there. I definitely did.
The super crisp golgappas tempted me into filling myself even before the ‘dinner’. The local band Swaraag’s Rajasthani, sufi and Bollywood numbers adding that perfect ambience made it a joyous weekend. Also, the wood-fired oven didn’t only add to the flavours of the pizzas on another restaurant’s stall, the smoke and warmth of it in that breezy night almost hinted at the arrival of chill in the air.
The rustic seating with wooden benches, cots, colourful cushions thrown in, cane garden chairs and low stools adorned with local craftwork added to it all. Luring the tastebuds and making many forget about the diets were stalls serving Kashmiri cuisine, range of burgers, pastas, desserts, south Indian food, and more.
For those who still braved the temptation despite such a spectacular spread around, a couple of restaurants working in the healthy food zone, came to the rescue. It’s rather a point of debate though if they gained on health or lost on taste!

And then they ran:
Health was not a lost case at all as over 1,500 enthusiasts from Jaipur, nearby cities and other part of the country got together for the last act of the three-day event – 10km and 5km marathons. Post 10, the Mubarak Mahal and the grounds had an altogether different buzz to them as groups of runners, in their colourful sportswear, started collecting around for the marathon. 
The longer run started from the City Palace gate, went to Gandhi Circle on JLN Marg and back. The route for the shorter run was from the Palace to SMS Hospital and back. Flagged off by the erstwhile royal Padmanabh Singh, the marathon made for quite a picture with traffic-less roads and lit-up historical buildings as the backdrop, showcasing the citys beauty in the night.
Just like night and moonlight adds to romance, Jaipur by Nite did to the citys charm with its presentation of music, food, fun and the run. Do mark the dates for the next year to experience this yourself.
Share:

Documents Safety while travel - Passport Holder

That was the time when I was enjoying every moment of trekking in the snow-capped peaks of Suraksan mountains in South Korea. Excitement of the solo trekking continued even on my return. While I was about to call it a day, I noticed something strange about the passport.
It was the time to go into the flashback. To avoid any accidental slipping of passport while trekking, the passport was securely placed in the front pocket of my woolen shirt and there were layers of more warm clothing wrapped around to withstand temperatures up to -160C. Due to rigors of the trekking the heat generated inside the layers of warm clothing, the lamination of the passport had peeled away from the first and last pages of the passport.

Share:

Happy Move - Save our Heritage, An initiative by Hyundai Motor India...

"We owe this Earth to our future generations"
The most visible landmarks of this Earth are the heritage monuments. We might have inherited these monuments in a fragile state, but it is our duty to make it better for coming generations.
Country like India which is going full throttle on the development road; there is need to stop a while, look around and think about the values and culture we need to carry along with. In our quest to move into future, we should not forget our roots, our past and our glorious heritage. In absence of proper maintenance, most of jewels of our heritage are lying in dilapidated condition. Small awareness and small efforts by everyone can make a big difference in preserving these symbols of cultural expressions and evolution.
One of such initiative, “Happy Move – Save our Heritage” has been taken by Hyundai Motor India Ltd. (HMIL) to spread awareness about preserving the heritage.

Share:

Ethnic stay at Bishnoi Village...

We have stayed in Jodhpur and visited Bishnoi Area for one day. However on visiting the Bishnoi region we realised that we should have stayed in Bishnoi region and should have visited Jodhpur for a day's trip, as all the attractions in Jodhpur can be done in one day trip. Staying at Bishnoi region will also give a chance to experience Bishnoi culture and life in desert. But where to stay in Bishnoi region, we got our answer in Bishnoi Village (www.bishnoivillage.com), situated amidst Bishnoi villages, about 22 K.M. from Jodhpur city on the route of Jodhpur to Udaipur.

Bishnoi village is an ethnic resort designed in traditional Bishnoi spirit of living. The Resort consists of comfortable huts with thatched roof and attached bath room providing running hot and cold water. Huts are made of eco friendly local materials and plastered with cow-dung. The cow-dung is traditionally used as an antiseptic and insecticide. The huts are beautifully painted in traditional style by local women artisans. Its elegantly appointed rooms have their own individual character and furnishings.
Camp Site Tent (Activities):- The camp is exclusive, consisting of 10 deluxe tents tastefully decorated with attached bathrooms providing running hot and cold water. The Tents are beautifully decorated in traditional style by local artisans.  
Lots of activity is arranged in the resort itself which can be enjoyed/ indulged by the visitors. Likewise Camel riding, birds' watching, spending time with Bishnoi families... 
  
One can also enjoy the local fairs in its most original form. Local artists with their traditions and culture will surely enrich your memories. Resort organises safari (to villages Guda Bishnoiyan, kakani, khejarli)wherein one can see local craftsmen on work, shepherds, farmers and most important Black bucks and chinkaras roaming freely in their natural habitat.


Finding black bucks is very common in Bishnoi region, due to fact Black buck is protected and preserved by Bishnoi people. During the village safari, one can see the Bishnoi way of living very closely and spot Black bucks and even Siberian cranes (winter times) in the water bodies. Black buck fighting is very common in this area, but can be seen only for 2 months during their mating season (month of October and November)
Most important the FOOD, be assured to enjoy authentic Rajasthani meal like Ker sangari ki sabji, kadhi bajare ki roti, dal bati.... Will suggest to try Dal Bati, it is very different from what you will get in other cities, you will fall in love with. Enjoy the food...
One can easily plan a 2 night or 3 night stay at this resort. Resort can arrange a pick-up and drop facility to Jodhpur railway station.
Will recommend to try this version of Jodhpur travel itinerary, you will surely feel the difference. Contact details are as follows:
Bishnoi Village: http://bishnoivillage.com/
Phone : +91 94141 29233
Keep travelling Guys...





Share:

Teej Mahotsav - Jaipur

Teej festival marks the arrival of the Sawan (month of monsoon) and is celebrated for two days in Hindu month of Shravan (July-August). Teej is celebrated in many parts of the country; however, when it comes to celebrations Jaipur clearly steals the show. The scent of the soil wetted by monsoon rains on the desert region is simply amazing and absorbing.


An extravagant procession scheduled for 2 days in the lanes of the old city brings the whole city out on the roads to mark as welcome of rain gods. Teej Mahotsav (festival) creates an aura of a grand carnival covered in blanket of age-old traditions. The grand procession gets a traditional start from City Palace, Tripoliya Gate.


Traditional Rajasthani dances enlightens the procession

Teej festival is dedicated to Eternal or divine couple of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. One day before this festival is celebrated ladies put Mehandi on their hands and traditional sweet "Ghevar (घेवर )" is consumed. Ghevar is prepared only during this time of the year. Girls wear new clothes and mothers-in-law gift jewellery to newly married daughters-in-law on her first Teej after marriage.

Goddess Teej Mata in Palki                                                                         The procession

In Rajasthan Camels are part of life and they are beautifully decorated and are intricate part of Teej Festival. Also many artists showcase their skills:


Elephants enjoy a special place in Indian culture as an eternal omen of good luck. Decorated elephants are a real delight to the eyes.

Decorating the elephants is an activity in which you can also be a part. You can indulge in many such activities.


This festival is attended by tourists from all parts of the world. You have to be a part of the moment to experience the magic moments in the Pink city of Jaipur. Make your plans for upcoming Teej Festival, 2nd half of August.



I was totally unaware about this grand magnum opus, but surely this has the potential to be one of the grandest celebrations on this earth. With its unmatched heritage, no doubt Jaipur is one of the most visit spots on the earth. Popular attractions are well known, but Jaipur has a couple of rare offbeat attracations, worth visiting. 


And if you keep an extra day, you may visit Chand Bawdi, which is 90 Km. from Jaipur on Jaipur-Agra road, you will be surprised by this hidden spot. 
Keep travelling Guys...

Share:

Chalets, Naldehra - Mystic Solace in the Himalayas...

Pampers, Grace And Greet Yourself At Chalets Naldehra!
At times you feel like planning a trip to a place which is far off from the city crowd and is quite enough to revive your thoughts. Few days back, while having similar desires, I went to explore ‘The Chalets’ on an invited stay. It surely turned out as to be a real stress buster for me.
 
The Chalets is tucked almost 22 kms away from the famous hill station ‘Shimla’. It took us almost 3.5 hours to reach the destination from the Kalka Railway station, which is supposedly the closest station to the place. On arrival, we were greeted with some hot ‘masala tea’, something that you might crave for when it’s freezing outside. Amish Sud, the Managing Director of the property then gave a broad overview of how precisely the things were planned there.
 
The owners have involved almost every single form of recreational activity at the place. They had it all to make the place feel like a ‘home away from home’ with exclusively designed separate pine log cottages for their guests with high sense of privacy. While based upon their course of needs, guests can choose either a bunglow, or an apartment or family cottages or even double room.
 
 
Our spot for stay was a beautiful cottage, right in the middle of the property which gave us a clear sight of the sunrise/sunset. It was way too mesmerizing. Something I found to be as a major setback for me was the ‘terror of monkeys’, they just happened to appear from anywhere and at anytime. But then of-course when you are there at mountains, you just don’t have a choice of escaping from them, all you can do is, stay alert!
 
Going further, I found that the different in-house arrangements made by the property owners were enough to relax and pamper my self. Well to start on my day I chose to go for the royal sport first and then for the pamper stuff. There is a Naldehra golf course, right next to the property at a mere distance of 5 minutes.
 
Might sound crazy but the longing that I showed for reaching there at the ground was ironic to the knowledge I hold about it. I hardly knew anything about this sport. It was as new and fresh to me as a play school to a three year old kid going there for the first time. It was just the name and action that I knew. The coach there gave me a good insight of it and I even tried hard to make few good shots at least. But then like I said, I was a fresher to it so couldn’t manage to do with it really well. Instead I enjoyed taking pictures at that beautiful landscape.
 
After coming back from there, I decided to relax my cells a bit. The house got it all ranging from a soothing spa, temperature controlled pools, health club facilities of international standards including massages, sauna, Jacuzzi pool, steam room and all those things that you may seek at a leisure trip.
 
The delicately built cottages interestingly owe their design to the Finland– based architecture; also the lodges used to build the cottages are all the way from Finland, the place of their origin. Evening went on to be extremely soothing followed by perfect dinner arrangements at the revolving restaurant. The staff remained on their toes to shape the things well for us. The service was quick and apt. There even had arrangements for the live setup for BBQ in the garden pavilion and a live kitchen as well. During our stay there, we tasted the Chinese, North Indian and Italian cuisine. All those dished served there had a natural tint n’flavor within them.


Chalets, Naldehra happened to be a perfect off-beat destination for me. Such small trips, far off in the mountains can surely play as a complete stress buster.

Keep travelling Guys...

Contributed by Kamya Kandhari
 

Share:

Hyatt Place, Hampi

Work, relax and enjoy the travel to one of the UNESCO heritage sites...
Though located adjacent to one of the biggest steel plants in India, Hyatt Place offers rather a refreshing staying option in Vijaynagar. For business visitors to JSW Steel, this is one of the most ideal accommodation.

Located inside JSW, Vidyanagar lush green township this is an ideal place to enjoy and walk around in exquiste surroundings. One can enjoy refreshing morning walk and relaxing evening walks in the arms of nature.








Rooms are well maintained and decorated in the spirit of hampi or this region. All the rooms are decorated with caricatures of beautiful topography of this region.

On your visit to hampi region you can try searching for this arrangement of stones.


One can also enjoy bare feet walk in the well maintained lawns.









Restaurant on the ground floor serves delicious and to the order prepared food. Be it Chinese, or Italian, the service is quite fast. Breakfast is especially fantastic with huge variety to satiate your taste buds. I loved the Omlettes they serve during the breakfast...




Attractions nearby:
  1. Hampi - 27Km. : Ruins from Vijaynagar empire, 700 years old. UNESCO World heritage site.
  2. Itagi - 80 Km. : Known for Mahadeva temple, Chalukya Style
  3. Anjaneya Parvat - 50 km.: Believed as birth place of Lord Hanuman
  4. Kumar Swamy Temple, Sandur - 17 Km. : Lord Karthikeya Temple, Built by Chalukyas. Considered as first abode of Lord Karthikeya in Southern India.
Facilities for guests:
Complimentary Breakfast, Parking, Complimentary Wi-Fi

Nearest Airport : Bangalore (350 Km.), Hubli (160 Km.)
Nearest Railway Station: Toranagallu (5 Km.) 

Share:

Managing money while exploring offbeat destinations


Money, like emotions, is something you must control carefully to keep your life on the right track…
Exploring Offbeat destinations is a specialized travel activity which is very satisfying for a traveler. Being located in not so visited areas, it is not always possible to have first-hand information about the place. Due to this it is utmost necessary to keep yourself equipped enough financially for any unforeseen event. Unforeseen event is only running out of sufficient cash, you may have dozens of Credit/ Debit Cards which might not be accepted in these places.

Would like to share some money management experiences to keep handy while exploring Offbeat destinations:
1.      Cash Management: Money is the best friend which can rescue you in case of any unforeseen event, so: 
a.      Make sure that you carry ample amount of cash, atleast sufficient for fuel, food and accommodation requirements.
b.     Keep currency notes in smaller denominations too as getting change for bigger notes can be a problem for very small merchants/ shopkeepers in remote places.
                                                  i.      Indulging in shopping for the local delicacies/ special handicrafts is a sheer luxury, as you will not find such stuff in cities. However most of the merchants in these locations do not accept credit cards. So if you are out of cash at this moment, you are putting at stake the joy of your otherwise happening journey.

2.      Usage of Electronic Money (Credit Card/ Debit Card):
a.      ATM’s are not available everywhere and Credit cards are not so widely accepted
b.     Even many highway filling stations and hotels/ food outlets  at smaller places/ remote locations at times do not accept credit cards
c.      Take caution in usage of Credit cards/ Debit cards to safeguard yourself from any chances of fraud. I personally prefer to pay by cash for fuel stations which are located outside Tier-II cities.

3.      ATM’s: Always keep a note of last working ATM on your way, so that you can at least have an option of going back to fetch money. Will advise to also carry ATM cards banks like SBI, PNB, ICICI… as they have better penetration of ATM’s in remote places.

As offbeat destinations travel is gradually catching the fancy of the travellers, some of the prominent hotels/ resorts’ chains are setting up their properties in these locations. Pre-booking these can save a lot of money and also the hassles of paying by cash while checking out. Also you can earn cashback/ privilege points. Always check out with them for their affiliation with rewards program.

Please note some of these hotels/ resorts might not accept payment by Credit Card/ Debit Cards while checking out. However they are accepting payment by electronic means while booking. This I have personally faced, however the resort was co-operative enough to send a person with me till the next available ATM (approx. 35 kms from the resort’ location) to collect the cash.

Above all spend wisely to have non-stop fun during your explorations. Happy travelling friends...

Share:

Translate...

Badge for Top 10 Indian Travel Bloggers – 2018

Popular Posts