Travel

Nalanda Vihara (University) Archaelogical site, Bihar, India | Day visit to UNESCO World Heritage site of Nalanda

The remains of Ancient Buddhist Monastery in Nalanda, Bihar, India is famous world over as the remains of an ancient Buddhist Monastery & university during 5th  to 1200 century B.C., which was visited by scholars from world over, most notably Chinese scholar Hiuen Tsnag   I was in Nalanda district some time back on work and did not let go of the opportunity to visit the archaeological site of Nalanda Vihara, which is an UNESCO world heritage site.

[caption id="attachment_5462" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Nalanda site - UNESCO World Heritage site[/caption] (more…)

Sushmita Sarkar
Travel

Bern in Switzerland | A Day visit to Capital of Switzerland and UNESCO heritage city of Bern

Bern is the capital of Switzerland and also an UNESCO World heritage site. We visited the charming medieval city of Bern on our first day of our 7 day self planned summer holiday in Switzerland and it was an enriching experience, as also an enjoyable one.

[caption id="attachment_5382" align="aligncenter" width="200"] Bern - the historic city of many fountains[/caption] (more…)

Sushmita Sarkar
Travel

Switzerland Summer Vacation | Travel Diaries of a Summer Holiday in Switzerland

Switzerland ~ the name invokes images of green meadows, swiss cows grazing as their bells gently ring in the breeze, pretty wooden chalets, alpine mountains covered with snow  and of perfect cerulean skies. For many Indians, thanks to iconic director ‘Yash Raj’ films, Switzerland was the definitive romantic getaway; many of his films’ romantic songs & sequences have been filmed in this country. So, a prospect of a summer vacation in Europe and that too in Switzerland has to be the ultimate travel dream comes true. However, I was in two minds, since it was summer and peak season for the ‘Indian Tourists’ to descend on Switzerland in package tours hordes, I actually thought it might turn out to be a disappointing experience. The husband had a work tour and convinced me that since we will be based out of non-touristy city Basel and also will be on a self-planned holiday, it will be a nice experience. So, it was with lot of anxiety as well as excitement that we headed for our self-planned Switzerland Summer Vacation.

[caption id="attachment_5369" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Jungfrau - Top of Europe, Switzerland[/caption] (more…)

Sushmita Sarkar
Travel

Vegetarian Travellers’ Food Guide to Uzbekistan | Uzbekistan for Vegetarian Travellers

Whenever I get query about my all women group trip to Uzbekistan, the most frequent question is about availability of vegetarian food options for travellers there. This is not surprising as Uzbekistan is a Central Asian country and one which is majority Islamic. Therefore, vegetarian travellers wonder about Vegetarian food options when planning on a trip to Uzbekistan. I have attempted to write this ‘Vegetarian Travellers’ Guide to Uzbekistan’ in a FAQ type format, so that all the different types of queries regarding what to eat when in Uzbekistan for vegetarian travellers, are answered.

https://instagram.com/p/BYgIyE5nvEd/ (more…)

Sushmita Sarkar
Travel

Samarkand in Uzbekistan | Travel Diaries Uzbekistan in Central Asia #

For the lust of knowing what should not be known, we take the Golden Road to Samarkand ~ James Elroy Flecker

Samarkand, in Uzbekistan is the jewel of the Great Silk Road legacy and its most famous city. Believe to be one of the oldest inhabited cities in Central Asia (and probably the world), along with Bukhara.  On my curated trip to Uzbekistan with One Life to Travel, the visit to Samarkand was kept in the last part of the itinerary, with the promise that the best has been kept for last. So when I landed in Samarkand after a long drive from Bukhara, my expectations were sky high. Samarkand dazzled me with all its finery and glamour. It is indeed the most mesmerizing city of the Great Silk Road.

We travelled to Samarkand from Bukhara by road and amidst conversations with my fellow travelers, stunning views of the Uzbeki  countryside landscape, my mind kept going back to the parting words of our local guide in Bukhara – “Bukhara and Samarkand can be compared to two women; Bukhara is like a simple beautiful village woman who is earthy in her beauty but does not have any jewels or pretty dresses to show off. Samarkand is the dazzling beautiful woman with jewels one her and many pretty dresses. While both are beautiful, they are in essence very different. So the beauty actually lies in the eyes of the beholder, which one is the greater beauty – Samarkand or Bukhara”

Samarkand is one of the oldest inhabited cities in Central Asia and was the labor of love of emperor Timur (famously known as Timurlane), who made it his capital. Today, Samarkand is listed as UNESCO World Heritage site (listing in 2001) as Samarkand – Crossroads of Cultures.

[caption id="attachment_5334" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Ulugh Begh Observatory[/caption] (more…)

Sushmita Sarkar
Travel

Basilica of Bom Jesus in Old Goa, India | UNESCO world heritage site – Churches and convents of Old Goa

As a kid, reading about St. Francis Xavier's incorruptible remains on display at The Basilica of Bom Jesus in Goa, was morbidly fascinating for me. It was one of the 'attractions' of Goa for me while growing up and I used to think how it could be possible to go against nature. As an adult, now I know much better about biology, still a visit to the Basilica of Bom Jesus was top on my must visit places during my monsoon getaway to Goa. The Basilica of Bom Jesus or Borea Jezuchi Bajilika is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and I had to visit it.

[caption id="attachment_5298" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Basilica of Bom Jesus, Old goa[/caption] (more…)

Sushmita Sarkar
Travel

St. Augustine’s Tower and Church in Goa | UNESCO World Heritage Site – Churches and Convents of Goa

On our monsoon getaway to Goa, one of the most charming sites we visited was the St. Augustine’ s Tower and Church in Old Goa (or Velha Goa). It is actually a ruined church complex and not many visitors come here, though it is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site - Churches and Convents of Goa.  I found this place having a charming aura of times gone by and a beautiful fading memory of glorious days of Portuguese rule in Goa.

[caption id="attachment_5272" align="aligncenter" width="300"] St. Augustine's Tower and Church - Views from Entrance gate[/caption] (more…)

Sushmita Sarkar
Travel

Chittor Fort in Chittorgarh Rajasthan, India | Driving Holidays in India

The history of Chittor Fort in Chittorgarh, is closely intertwined that of Udaipur. The royal house of Mewar at Udaipur has descended from the lineage of Chittorgarh. The Fort has interesting conquests, battles and tales of valour to its heritage; it is an UNESCO world heritage site. We visited Chittor fort on our 8 day long family road trip thorugh Mewar region of Rajasthan this winter.  It was definitely an interesting experience to visit this Fort.

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Sushmita Sarkar
Travel

Visiting Khiva in Uzbekistan | Uzbekistan Travel Diaries #3

The first major destination of my Uzbekistan travel itinerary was Khiva, one of the first UNESCO World heritage sites in Uzbekistan and it left me completely captivated with its rugged untamed beauty. I had come to Uzbekistan, in lure of The Great Silk Road cities of Bukhara and Samarkand, but it was Khiva where I left a piece of my heart back. Sharing my incredible visit to Khiva in this story.

Landing at Ugrench Airport (flying in from Tashkent), we were greeted by sunny skies and a chilling windy temperature of Minus 2 degrees Celsius.  We made a dash for the Airport Arrival terminal getting down from the aircraft. My tummy was a bit under the weather (most probably with all the drinking and dancing I did last night) and I wondered how I would survive the drive to Khiva, which was around 1 hour and more importantly, how would I last the rest 7 days of sightseeing, if this was the condition on Day 2. With these thoughts, I settled in the car with other fellow travelers and it wasn’t until I noticed the golden yellow fortification/fort walls on one side that I realized we had reached Khiva.

[caption id="attachment_4921" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Itchan Kala fortified Walls[/caption] (more…)

Sushmita Sarkar