Month: September 2013

6 Ways to Pamper Yourself at JW Marriott, Mumbai.

Over a month ago, I gave up my apartment in Delhi, sold most of my belongings, and hit the road (Read: I’m Hitting The Road, Indefinitely). It’s been a roller coaster ride, one that has left me craving a weekend of pampering. The last two days at JW Marriott in Bombay have given me exactly that. Presenting to you, 6 ways to indulge yourself and your taste buds at JW Marriott, Mumbai: Breakfast at BBC  A charming bakery with books, teas, home-baked breads, and pastries, the Bombay Baking Company has the perfect recipe for a lazy day of indulgence. Their artisan sandwiches are a must try, and if you believe that it’s never too early for wine, they have an extensive list to choose from. The Royal Lotus Suite The first thing that struck me about the Royal Lotus Suite was the view from its glass panels, of the swimming pool below and a stretch of Juhu Beach beyond. The living area and the bedroom are spacious yet cosy, with wooden floors, a glass-walled bath …

7 Authentic Goan Restaurants in North Goa.

My three weeks in Goa (Read: Wake Me Up When September Ends) have busted two myths – that Goa is only about the beaches and crowds, and that Goan food has nothing to delight vegetarians. I’ve been indulging my taste buds in local delights, from home-baked Goan breads called Poi and Pao, to seasonal vegetable curries cooked in Goan style, to home-cooked vegetarian appetizers, to Goan sweets and desserts that I had never heard of before. Here are seven Goan restaurants that delighted me, culinarily and otherwise. And for you seafood and meat lovers out there, my friend vouches for these even with carnivorous taste buds! 1. VENITE, PANJIM The first thing you notice about Venite is its charming decor. Little balconies lit up with dim lights overlook the street, each with a table for two. Lamps made from coconut skin adorn the rest of the restaurant, while a private group seating area has walls decked with old bottles, and rather creative paint and crayon graffiti. The mushroom pepper fry accompanied by finely cut french …

7 Countries to Travel in With The Falling Rupee.

As a flashpacker, I’m always on the lookout for pocket friendly countries to travel in (Read: Confession: I’m Not a Backpacker). So as I watched the rupee fall over the last few weeks, I went into panic mode; countries like Bahrain and Canada, which I visited earlier this year, are now almost twenty times more expensive to travel in! I desperately turned to my best friend Google to determine if this was the end of my dream to travel the world on a meager income (Read: How I Afford my Travels and How You Can Too). Turns out, the rupee can still take us far enough on roads less travelled!

24 Hours in Bangalore: Where to Stay, Eat, Chill and Cycle!

I’ve often thought that a nomad like me is just not cut out to enjoy a city. Time and again, my two years in Delhi reinforced that belief. But when I decided to pack my bags and make the road my home (Read: I’m Hitting The Road, Indefinitely), something unexpected happened; I fell in love with Bangalore. Even on a summer afternoon, Bangalore was a breath of fresh air. People hung out on the streets, quaint cafes lurked around every corner, breweries served up handcrafted beers, and the cool weather was perfect for pleasant strolls. Here’s my ode to the city, and a lowdown for your next trip to Bangalore:

In Photos: Life in Hampi, Karnataka.

Nothing could have prepared me for the boulder-strewn landscapes, majestic ruins, pristine lakes, and lush greenery that surrounds Hampi. Staying in a community-run retreat in the village of Anegundi, on the other side of the Tungabhadra River, we rode in coracle boats, swum in village lakes, and drove amid the remains of the 14th century Vijaynagar empire. Luckily for us, we beat the crowds, witnessed the monsoons, and captured a glimpse of real village life in and around Hampi:

Wake Me Up When September Ends.

I find myself penning this post rather unexpectedly. I’m staying at a 500-year-old Portuguese house, restored by a charming Goan family, in a sleepy little village called Aldona, in the hinterlands of Goa. This will be my home till the end of September. I’ve spent the last few days strolling along pristine backwaters, little hamlets stuck in time, lush green rice paddies, and streets adorned with abandoned Portuguese houses and old churches. Wake me up when September ends.

coastal Karnataka, Karnataka beaches, west coast India, Karnataka photos

“You Can Shake The Sand From Your Shoes, But Not From Your Soul.”

The seagulls come calling, and off we go. The sea breeze slowly replaces the aroma of coffee (Read: Coffee and Conversations in Coorg). The soft rustling of the maize fields turns to the fierce roaring of the Arabian Sea. From the bus, we watch the sun set upon palm fringed backwaters. And finally at the entrance of our beach house, we stand mesmerized by the crimson red sky and sea. Far from the beaches of Goa and the backwaters of Kerala, this is coastal Karnataka; picturesque and untouched. Ram-anna and Sarsu-akka, a couple from the neighboring fishing village and caretakers of our beach house, greet us with broad white smiles. Ram-anna opens the small blue doors and windows of the house to let the sea breeze in, while Sarsu-akka follows meekly behind; a short, thin lady with years of hardwork on her face. When we ask about food, her eyes light up. Aap jitne din baitho, main khana layegi; stay for as long as you like, I’ll get you food. She keeps her end of the promise for all three …

Coorg farm stay, Coorg photos, Coorg blog, Karnataka rice paddies

Coffee and Conversations in Coorg.

The whiff of coffee awakens me on a damp morning in Coorg. I lazily walk into my balcony, to witness silver butterflies dancing above the coffee plantations and the forest bathed in warm sunlight. I don’t know it then, but this is just the beginning of my love affair with Karnataka’s coffee country. When our bus arrived at Hattihole the previous evening, a gentle mist had engulfed the rivers, rice paddies and sleepy hamlets. Watching the rains lash the forests through my glass windows, I tried my first ever Coffee Spa; scrubbed with grinded coffee beans and massaged with hot oils, ninety minutes of aromatic coffee bliss! When the sun finally emerges, we walk along acres of coffee, cardamom and pepper plantations, down to a river with a hanging bridge built by the village folk. Walking on its delicate planks, our local Kodava (Coorgi) guide tells us about the indigenous traditions and culture of Coorg, the Kodava food and berry wines still made in village households. Only a single restaurant in Madikeri (called Coorg Cuisinette) and a handful of …