Travel

Travel Guide to Neemrana Hotels properties in Alwar, Rajasthan | How to choose the best fit Neemrana Hotels property in Alwar for your easy getaway from Delhi-NCR

Neemrana Hotels is widely popular for providing a non-hotel hotel experience combining the off-beat heritage with culture and laid back yet warm hospitality. The Neemrana Fort Palace in Neemrana, Alwar, Rajasthan has become an iconic property internationally for travellers visiting India, particularly Rajasthan. I have had the pleasure of spending time at all 3 of the Neemrana hotels properties in Alwar, Rajasthan :- (1) Neemrana Fort Palace (2) Kesroli Hill Fort (3) Tijara Fort Palace, and I would have to say that though, overall, all of these properties offer the ‘Neemrana’ experience, each one also has its distinctive charm. A lot of my friends and readers have asked me individually about which property to choose while planning a getaway from Delhi. I thought it best to share the various queries as well as points in a Q&A form.

https://instagram.com/p/BWdLEWFH2cv/   [caption id="attachment_5596" align="aligncenter" width="225"] Tijara Fort Palce in Tijara, Alwar Rajasthan[/caption] (more…)

Sushmita Sarkar
Travel

Morning Boat Ride in Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu, India

“Sunrise looks spectacular in the nature; sunrise looks spectacular in the photos; sunrise looks spectacular in our dreams; sunrise looks spectacular in the paintings, because it really is spectacular!”  ― Mehmet Murat ildan

As a city dweller, one of the major misses in daily life is watching the sunrise; even though I am early riser and make it a point to do yoga at the crack of dawn, the high-rises and all the concrete chaos of the city make it impossible to catch a good glimpse of sunrise (or even sunset). Therefore, I relish these nature’s spectacular shows while on my travels. It was an absolute delight to watch sunrise in Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu on an early morning boat ride in the sea.

[caption id="attachment_5575" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Sunrise at Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu, India[/caption] (more…)

Sushmita Sarkar
Travel

Chandi Devi Temple in Haridwar | Temples in Haridwar, Uttarakhand

Chandi Devi temple in Haridwar, Uttarakhand is a revered Hindu pilgrimage site in Haridwar, Uttarakhand, India.  Haridwar is an ancient town and a prime pilgrimage destination for Hindus and has many temples, of which Mansa Devi is one of the primary piths (or pilgrimages). Therefore, it sees busy footfalls all-round the year.  Haridwar also happens to be my second home and I keep visiting it regularly. This time around, we had some  extended family members coming to visit  us in Haridwar and on their agenda was religious tour of the city. So we took them to visit Chandi Devi Temple, along with the usual Har ki Pauri. I am sharing my travel notes for the benefit of religious traveller or anyone wanting to visit the Chandi Devi temple when in Haridwar.

[caption id="attachment_5536" align="aligncenter" width="225"] Chandi Devi Temple Entrance to Cable Car Ride[/caption] (more…)

Sushmita Sarkar
Travel

Things to do in Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu, India | Travel Guide to Mahabalipuram

Mahabalipuram is a small resort town in Tamil Nadu, located somewhere midway between Chennai (60 kilometers) and Pondicherry on the East Coast Road. This sleepy little hamlet town became world famous gradually, since the discovery of many monolithic rock cut temples of the Pallava period, starting from the year 1960. The group of monuments at Mahabalipuram was declared an UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984, making it internationally  famous and attracting foreign & domestic travellers. Today, owing to its easy connectivity from Chennai and also lying on the Tamil Nadu pilgrimage route, as well as its UNESCO World heritage tag, Mahabalipuram is thronged with visitors year round. This once sleepy little town has got some interesting attractions to offer to visitors, depending on their interests. Here’s a list of things to do when in Mahabalipuram :

[caption id="attachment_5475" align="aligncenter" width="225"] Shore Temple Mahabalipuram[/caption] (more…)

Sushmita Sarkar
Travel

Visit to Fontainhas in Panjim, Goa |Goa Travel Diaries

On the list of the top most things to do in Panjim city, for me during our monsoon getaway to Goa was is to visit Fontainhas quarters.  The Fontainhas is the old Latin Quarters in Panjim city and the Portuguese traditional architectural and town planning  influences have been preserved here. Visiting Fontainhas heritage quarters is taking a walk back into time, to the days of Portuguese rule in Goa. We spent the most delightful time walking around in Fontainhas, admiring the stunning colors, architecture and decor of the area.

[caption id="attachment_5240" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Private Villa is Fontainhas, Goa[/caption] (more…)

Sushmita Sarkar
Travel

Monsoon Getaway to Goa, India | Long weekend monsoon getaway with Girl friends

Goa ~ the name conjures images of endless beaches, carefree beach bummers, churches and a laidback life. I wanted my ‘virgin’ experience of Goa to be unique and for years I avoided the beaches of Goa for the very reason people thronged to them; somehow crowded beaches full of people has never been my thing. So when my girl friends suggested we meet up for a long weekend monsoon getaway somewhere, Goa came up instantly first thing in our list! It then took us months of research planning, booking and some more research to finally have our Monsoon Getaway to Goa….and boy was it fabulous!

[caption id="attachment_5208" align="aligncenter" width="300"] The mellowed down Miramar beach in monsoons[/caption] (more…)

Sushmita Sarkar
Travel

Barabar Caves in Gaya, Bihar, India | Oldest rock cut caves in India

The Barabar caves are the oldest surviving rock -cut caves in India, apparently dating from the Maurya Empire (322–185 BCE), located in the Bela Ganj Block in Gaya district, Bihar, India. Earlier this month, I was on a work trip to Gaya region and after a long day of field visits, the site co-workers insisted to take me to these caves. Having no prior knowledge of these caves, I was in two minds to visit. However, the description by the co-worker of the stunning artistry & work from Mauryan times generated enough curiosity in me to finally make the visit. I was glad to visit the stunning Barabar caves, which are an amazing example of sculpting & engineering work in the ancient Mauryan times.

[caption id="attachment_5194" align="aligncenter" width="225"] Flight of stairs leading to Barabar caves[/caption]

The path to the caves is via concrete flight of stairs and it is not a steep climb for healthy adults. On first look, the caves look very average from outside and that is the surprise factor about them. The caretaker came up on our request and opened the first door gate. As we entered and our eyes adjusted to low light, I saw a polished granite hall, it was shining as if it had been just polished a day before.

[caption id="attachment_5204" align="aligncenter" width="300"] First cave entry door in the Barabar group of caves[/caption] (more…)

Sushmita Sarkar
Travel

Flowers in Khirsu, Uttarakhand India

Just living is not enough...

one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower

~ Hans Christian Anderson~

Whenever I am in the mountains, the stunning beauty of flowers amaze enthrall me and I end up taking many many pictures as memories to gaze later in my stressful city life. On my last summer getaway to Khirsu, Uttarakhand, I took back home beautiful memories of many such flowers, some of which I am sharing here.

https://instagram.com/p/BUv5ahph7_J/ (more…)

Sushmita Sarkar
Travel

Shri Nathji Temple in Nathdwara Visit | Driving Holidays in India

Faith in God includes Faith in his timing ~ Neal A. Maxwell

I vaguely knew about Shri Nath ji  - the 7 year old ‘infant’  incarnation of Hindu god Krishna , from many years (as I am Hindu myself). However, it was through the stunning Pichwai paintings that I came to see during the Textile Trail in Delhi, that I really got interested in the religious history of Shri Nath ji at Nathdwara, which was as fascinating as it was about faith.  While on the family road trip through Rajasthan this winter, we realised that we could visit Nathdwara if we just  got our timing right. We decided that if we did get our timing right, while driving from Mount Abu to Chittorgarh, when we reached the highway point which takes a detour to Nathdwara town, we will definitely visit the Shri Nath ji Temple. In my heart, I kept praying that everything goes fine and for me it was a journey into the power of faith to visit and seek blessings of Shri Nath ji in Nathdwara.

[caption id="attachment_5040" align="aligncenter" width="225"] Narrow lanes of Nathdwara[/caption] (more…)

Sushmita Sarkar

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