Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Haridwar: 5 must do things when in Haridwar, Uttarakhand, India

Haridwar , literally meaning  ‘ abode of Lord Vishnu’ is one of the holiest cities in India and millions of people visit it every year. Located at the foothills of the Himalayas in the state of Uttarakhand, it is one of the most revered pilgrimages for Hindus the world over.  We tell you 5 must do things in the holy city of Haridwar:-

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Jama Masjid and Old Delhi Ramazan walk with Dr. Navina Jafa | Heritage Walk in Old Delhi

Ramazan for me (and the husband) has always been associated with food -  delicious Iftaar food found in Old Delhi! Every year, we make it a point to savour the delectable street food on offer during Ramazan in the Old Delhi area of Jama Masjid. Making our way through Chawri Bazaar into Jama Masjid and then into the bylanes of the streets around the mosque, we come across many interesting food (surprisingly vegetarian and non –vegetarian) – Read my previous posts on Old Delhi and Iftaar food walk in Old Delhi here and here. The experience is such a visual, olfactory & gastronomic delight that we actually avoid joining any walking groups in delhi (which heavily advertise such events during the period), preferring to do it alone (as we feel they cannot top our experience). So, when I saw the update on one of my favorite travel groups on Facebook #TCBG for a heritage walk in Jama Masjid & Old Delhi area with Dr. Navina Jafa during one Ramazan weekend, I instantly knew this was going to be an unique kind of a walk (and not those run of the mill food walks being done at the time). The walk with Dr. Navina Jafa was a beautifully curated walk, interspersed with interesting historical & mythical stories interweaved beautifully.

 We started our walk from Gate No. 3 at Jama Masjid and walked up the steps into the huge courtyard of the mosque. Dr. Jafa had a special viewing organized for us first of the various relics related to Islam and Prophet Mohammed. She lucidly explained that while the historical accuracy of the artefacts (such as hair of Prophet Mohammed) may be of question but the emotional/cultural connect was pure, therefore, as always in every faith , it is the belief which matters most! I found it such a profound thought!!!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Big Buddha at Lantau Island in Hong Kong | Encounter with serenity in Asia’s World City

He who would be serene and pure needs but one thing, detachment ~ Meister Eckart

All my tiredness from waiting in the queues climbing the steps to, seemed to fade away into a serene happiness as I gazed into the face of Tian Tan Buddha (popularly known as Big Buddha) at Po Lin Monastery in Lantau Island, Hong Kong.  Visiting the Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery in Hong Kong was #1 on my ‘top 10 attractions to visit in Hong Kong’ ever since my friend & Hong Kong resident payal described it to me and wrote a guest post on my blog (read here). I visited the Po Lin Monastery, which has the Big Buddha,  on the second day of my HongKong solo travel in last year and it was one of my best experiences in the city.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Bir Billing in Himachal Pradesh (India) | Paragliding and much more in a quaint himachali village

I had heard about Bir-Billing (in Himachal Pradesh) much before I visited Palampur on invite by HimachalHeritage Village and only realized that it was close to the Palampur town after I reached there. Bir-Billing is world famous for adventure tourism, especially para-gliding. In fact, Bir-billing is counted among the ‘top paragliding sites in the world’ and that is what all I knew about Bir-Billing. On a day trip into this lovely village, I discovered Bir-Billing is much more! Sharing my Bir-Billing photo-story here:-

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Monsoon weekend getaway at Satya-Jyoti Trust Farm in Sare Khurd, Alwar, Rajasthan (India)

It all started with a whatsapp group chat formed between 4 travel loving women. All of us were totally fed up the daily routine and had not been able to go on any travel for a month (yes thats as far as we can go without travelling!!). While discussing various options, we first settled for a long weekend getaway in Himachal Pradesh and had even booked the property. Closer to the dates, we realized that there were multiple news updates on the cloud bursts and flood like situation in the Himalayan state. So frantically, we started looking elsewhere, because we HAD to go somewhere!!! The option ranged from Shekhawati to Jaipur to many other destinations. Finally, we settled on a quick getaway over the weekend at Satya-Jyoti Trust Farm at Sare Khurd (in Alwar, Rajasthan).  I must share it was my brainwave, as I had been to the farm earlier (read here my experience) and figured it would be lovely in the rainy season. So it happened, an adventurous monsoon weekend getaway for 4 lovely women friends to Satya-Jyoti Trust Farmstay in Alwar, Rajasthan (India).

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