My constant travels sometimes leave me craving to curl in and enjoy the finer luxuries of travelling. So when an opportunity arose, I decided to grab it and stay at the Club Room of the Taj Palace hotel, in Delhi itself. I first came across the concept of a “Staycation” – indulging in a luxury stay within your own city – while living in Singapore, and to be honest, cringed at the thought of wasting a weekend staying in when the world outside was waiting. Read more
Posts from the ‘India’ Category
Kinnaur, in the lower Himalayas of Himachal Pradesh, is home to the stunning Sangla Valley, along which gushes the mighty Baspa River. Rakcham and Chitkul, the last villages of India before Tibet, make Sangla one of the most beautiful valleys in the Himalayas – sparsely populated with graphic landscapes and a verdant countryside. I’ll let these photos, taken during my trip to Kinnaur last year, speak their thousand words. Read more
With temperatures rising mercilessly this summer, weekend getaways near Delhi are the best way to beat the heat. Bhimtal, a hill station near Delhi, is perfectly placed for a quick escape in the hills of Kumaon, without the crowds of its neighbor, Nainital.
I’ve crossed Bhimtal several times while making my way into the higher reaches of Kumaon. Most of these times, I’ve looked away from the Bhimtal Lake, which though surrounded by colorful trees, looks only as clean as you can expect an easily accessible lake in India to be. Read more
Possibly the most beautiful place I’ve travelled to in India, Majuli is the largest river island in the Brahmaputra River, and in the world. Accessible via Jorhat in Assam by a public ferry, it has an almost surreal, magical old world charm; we intended to stay here two days, but ended up staying six, and can’t wait to go back. Why? See for yourself. Read more
What a month March has been. I’ve travelled along the mountains, rivers and rice paddies of Thailand’s north, revisited with much nostalgia the familiar streets of Singapore, revelled in the festivities of Las Fallas in Spain, and finally made that illusive trip to India’s northeast to live with the Mishing tribe of Assam and explore the wilderness of the eastern Himalayas.
And in the midst of all these adventures, I’ve been overwhelmed to see my travel story about Turkey’s Black Sea region, published in BBC Travel, a travel publication I’ve always held in such high regard. Read more
This story was originally published in The Hindu.
Swarms of people greet me as I alight at the Jaipur railway station, some arriving in the pink city with royal expectations, some transiting through it to seek the desert culture of Rajasthan, and many slyly trying to identify first-timers to the city so they can put their touting hat on. I incessantly nod no to the constant soliciting of Madam auto, Madam taxi and Madam hotel, until I reach the exit of the station and someone’s Madam auto soliciting succeeds. I can see his bewilderment when I ask to go to Surya Vatika Road on the highway towards Chomu, and the fare negotiation is skewed in my favour for once, because he has no idea where we are going. Read more
Since I moved to Delhi in mid 2011 and started travelling in India, I’ve come across experiences that redefine the “real” India; experiences that lie quietly off the tourist trails, and let you fall in love with the hospitality and beauty of this incredible country:
1. Rent a village for a night.
You read that right! In the villages of the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve in Uttarakhand, every family has two homes; one in a lower altitude village for winter, another in a higher altitude village for summer. That means when the village folk move up during the summer, we city folk can rent out an entire village for a sojourn in the Himalayas. Stone houses, cobbled walkways, majestic mountain views, and the promise of a peaceful escape are part of the rental platter. Read more
The events of the last few weeks in Delhi have left us feeling angry, disappointed and helpless. We have raised questions in our heads, on Twitter and Facebook, and on the streets, about safety in Delhi and on a larger level, asked if India is safe (anymore) for women. We have spoken the unspeakable truth about rape in India, we have tried long and hard to look at our values as a society, we have spoken up about the dark, silent nights of India, we have confessed that the safety protests in Delhi might not have gone right, and we continue to hope against hope that strict measures will be taken to punish the guilty and prevent such brutality in the future. Read more
While boarding my flight from Barcelona to Delhi a few days back, the familiar heartache crawled its way back to find me. My month-long adventures in Spain were ending; I already missed the gorgeous olive countryside, the long lunches, the longer siestas, the best sangrias in the world, and the cobbled streets of sleepy old towns that first made me fall in love with Europe. Admittedly, getting upgraded to business class on Turkish Airlines helped nurse the pain, but it wasn’t until I started chatting up my co-passenger on my second flight from Istanbul to Delhi, that I knew I was on my way to new adventures. Before you start getting ideas, this isn’t about that Bollywood story where girl meets boy and the rest is predictable! Read more
Itchy feet and an Indian passport are a deadly combination, but you already know that. If you’ve travelled, or intended to travel much out of india, you are only too familiar with toiling over lengthy visa applications and the sleepless nights before a visa gets approved. Not to mention, pre-planning a holiday to the smallest detail – where you’ll stay, how many days to each city or town, when you’ll fly back – can suck the excitement out of any trip, unless of course you love planning. I know I don’t; I’ve found my greatest adventures in the most impulsive of trips, and it may as well be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Read more