During the Autumn of 2017, I was fortunate to visit the gorgeous country of Slovenia. The moment I entered here, it was surely’Love at 1st sight’!The easy drive and the mountains all around kept calling me. I knew this was one of the most romantic places I have ever visited. Did you know that S’love’nia is the country with the word LOVE in its name. The capital Ljuibiana means ‘the beloved one’. And it is considered as the darling of erstwhile Yugoslavia that parted ways without any bitterness and aggression unlike other nations. With all the beauty and all the wonderful people you cannot but as the cliche goes, “It was love at first sight”. Romantic getaways are so many, but Slovenia surely gives you a reason to indulge in some self love.
Here are the reasons why wit will be etched my memory and stay in my heart forever:
Slovenians are one of the friendliest people you meet
During my several trips, never have I come across the locals being so warm and wonderful to us, apart from my home country India of course. You ask them any question and 9 out of 10 times you will get a very patient reply. One such local that I met through a Facebook group was Masa Butara. When I told her that I was planning my birthday trip to her country, she went out of her way to give me a well thought of list of do’s and don’ts – quirky things to experience, where to ring in my birthday, places to eat, sightseeing marvels etc. One such place that she recommended was Point Ojstrica which gives you an unparalleled view of Lake Bled. It was very sweet of her to include informative tips such as the difficulty level of the hike, the type of shoes one should come prepared with for treks and the little known routes familiar only to the locals. After months of intense planning and anticipation, Masa and I finally met in Ljubjana to catch up. To date we continue to have conversations online. Our Airbnb host Luka made our stay extremely comfortable. He was sweet enough to arrange a surprise birthday cake for me in Ljubjana`s most popular cake shop – Swezda. Another heartwarming incident was with our boatman in Lake Bled. Usually the boats that take you to the church drop you off to the same spot from where you get in. We had requested our boatman, Cvetko to drop us off at Lake Bled castle instead. He had made arrangements for another boat to take us to the castle after our church tour. When the other boat never showed up, Cvetko took the pains to and let go his others trips and took to the castle in his car. He definitely did not have to go out of his way but he felt so committed to us that he took it upon himself to do so. We were humbled by the hospitality and involvement. Hats off the Cvetko
A little bit of everything
Slovenia is pure pristine beauty – right from the snow capped peaks to the lush green beach and fir trees to icy cold waterfalls to clear and sparkling lakes and gurgling rivers. It’s a virgin country yet to be discovered by the masses. The sights and sounds of wilderness and nature are packed into a country less than half the size of Switzerland. Another must-visit place is the Postjona Caves which are over 4000 years old. Not the adventuring kind? Don’t worry, the concrete jungle is not lacking in any way. Slovenia also has a great food scene, modern buildings and quirky street art. The two sides of the spectrum balance each other beautifully each not butting into the other. For all those wine connoisseurs, this country has vineyards galore. With all of this and a population of about 2 million, Slovenia is soon; sure to be one of the most visited destinations in Europe.
Two countries with one stone
Standing on the Adriatic coast of Slovenia at Piran one can see two other countries at the same time. While your feet lay firm in Slovenia, a look to your left and it’s Croatia. A glance to the right and you will peer right into Italy. This was an indescribable once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Every girl’s fairytale
When I saw pictures of Lake Bled, I was pretty sure that these were all edited. But it is only when you stand there, at the center of all the beauty that you realize the photos had been speaking the truth all along. Lake Bled with its island at the center, the Church of Assumption on the island, the castle, the snow-capped Julian alps in the background, ducks swimming, people boating, the carpet of red autumn leaves and the smell of fresh morning air were nothing short of being part of a mystical fairytale. I was left awestruck! *Hint hint* to all you ladies wanting that perfect backdrop for your wedding.
Sinfully divine desserts
For all those with a sweet tooth, Slovenia is an absolute treat. Lake Bled was covered with posters of their famous Bled cream cake, invented in the 1950’s at Café Park Restaurant. To get a real taste of its authenticity, I recommend that the cake be tried only at this restaurant. Over these 60 years they have sold more than 13 million cakes in Bled and across Slovenia. This tradition of Bled, is a crispy golden crust, made with real butter, and then pure vanilla beans cream and a little flour to give it some hold, topped with whipped cream, filo pastry and icing sugar. Describing this to you, my mouth is watering, I feel like one now. Another dessert worthy of special mention is the Boozy Jack Daniels Sundae served at Stari Piskar restaurant, in the town of Celjie – an hour’s drive from Ljubljana. This banana split dessert with the bananas soaked in Jack Daniels whiskey for over 8 hours and served with two dollops of ice cream along with a shot of Jack Daniels will completely blow your senses away. With my fair share of travelling and chocolate tasting experiences from all around the world, I must say that the chocolates here, sprinkled with lemongrass, lavender, rose petals, edible flowers, full pieces of figs are one of a kind which I have never come across in my travelling life. My favorite was the chocolate with basil leaves, figs, and Prosciutto ham. I felt like a 5-year-old girl in a, well, a candy shop of course.
Value for money
Slovenia is a very pocket friendly country. You get good Italian meals at 1/3rd the price of its neighboring country, Italy. Entry into places is also about 1/3rd to 1/2 of other European countries. One can experience beauty akin to Switzerland at half the price with half the crowds of any popular touristy spot. So, for all those young and budding backpackers eager to explore the untouched beauty of the world, Slovenia would perfectly fit into your budget.
Safe to travel
Slovenia is probably one of the safest countries that I have visited. Unlike a visit to any strange foreign land which would be marred with the likes of “what if I get mugged?”, “what if I lose my passport?” and “what will my backup plan be?”. Slovenia is in my opinion, a traveler-friendly country. If you lose your way, the locals will wholeheartedly walk with you to your destination. If you drop money or your passport, it will be returned to you. You can definitely let go and gain more out of your travel experiences knowing that you are looked out for. I would highly recommend this country for solo female travelers.
Penning down my love for this country, all I can say is that the real beauty of this hidden jewel is in the warmth, friendliness and honesty of its people. Their kindness and affection made my trip even more special, and I now have many such fond cherished memories. Slovenia has been etched in my heart forever.
In end the only thing I can tell you is “Don’t listen to what they say, go and see for yourself” – Anonymous
2017 has been fairly decent in terms of travel, food and shopping for Globejamun. Between KK and me, we made it to 20 destinations in 9 countries. While we were putting together a roadmap for 2018, we quickly did a throwback to 2017 reminiscing about some fond memories about the places we visited, the cultures we embraced, the people we met and the memories we crafted. Looking forward to travel packed 2018 with many more stories to tell!
A place of global unity located partly in Tamil Nadu and partly in Pondicherry. The best part about this place is the absence of any religion and the fact that it belongs to nobody but everybody! Many artists flock together in pursuit of art and culture.
Andaman Islands, India
These islands have some interesting marine facts – house to the largest living arthropods in the world, The Robber Crab and the largest sea turtle, The Leatherback. The Radhanagar beach which features in the top 10 beaches in the world is a treat to watch and experience. We loved our time soaking up the sun!
I don’t think one can ever get bored of this place. Each time we visit, Bangkok has something new to offer. Not to forget the numerous party places, the crazy night life, never ending shopping, the dont-you-ever-stop massages and the food coma that Bangkok offers. Despite all the madness, Bangkok has some crazy laws, like it’s illegal to leave your home without underwear. What! Really?
Jim Corbett National Park, India
Known for the Bengal Tigers, this park was named after a legendary tiger hunter Jim Corbett. This is perhaps the first time I sighted one; what a magnificent beauty I must say! Apart from the safaris one can only enjoy the sounds of nature.
Los Angeles, USA
KK loves LA for everything the city offers, the beaches and of course Hollywood! The only nagging part is probably the traffic for the cars outnumber the people in LA!
Surrounded by forests, Masinagudi is a great getaway from the mundane city life. Relax in cottages amidst the jungle and listen to the chirping of birds in the morning, creaking sounds of insects in the evening and the silence of the night.
Well we have a different perspective about Mexico. While the country is associated mostly with gangsters and guns, we think this is more to this place. It is a beautiful city with a lot of religious people. Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe is probably one of the prettiest churches we have ever seen!
The land of ‘Thunder Dragons’ or ‘Druk Yul’ is known for it’s GNH (Gross National Happiness) and is fondly called a ‘Happy Nation’. Trust us; there is more to this country: their awe-inspiring architecture, magnificent mountains, soothing air, friendly people, reverence for the King & Queen, amongst many others.
Eat, sleep and repeat. Sumptuous food, organic and fresh produces, healthy juices, massages, Ayurveda, yoga and some more yoga. It only takes these many words to sum up this place. A great place to spend some ‘me’ time.
Another place we keep going back to is Singapore for it is truly a shopper’s haven and a foodie’s paradise. There is something new to explore each time we visit and not to forget the Universal Studios.
Koh Samui, Thailand
The island offers a unique culture and charm apart from beautiful beaches. The attractions in Koh Samui lean more towards the low-key, natural end of the scale, which best suit’s the island’s general ambiance. One can truly enjoy the remarkable sites of historic, cultural and religious significance as well as sights of breath-taking natural beauty.
We made it to the Tulip Festival! There is nothing like the colors of the tulip fields in the spring backed by Mt. Hood and surrounded by fresh country air. Every year the varieties are arranged differently in a new pattern of color. It’s such a candy to the eyes.
Bintan caters for all; whether you are an adventurous explorer or enjoy relaxing in a tropical paradise with endless pearly white beaches, a wide varieties of resorts and holiday activities including golf, spa and water sports.
The only country in the world which has the word ‘love’ in it’s name. The country has some of the friendliest people we have ever come across, extremely warm and accepting. Slovenia is pure pristine beauty – right from the snow-capped peaks to the lush fir trees to icy cold waterfalls to clear and sparkling lakes. We highly recommend you visit this place with a special someone to amplify the love!
Known for it’s surf school, Kovalam is one of India’s top surfing destination. We decided to learn the sport and camped for a couple of nights. The feeling was exhilarating and connected us deeply with the ocean.
The southernmost tip of India where one can witness the confluence of Bay of Bengal, Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. With long stretches of sands of many hues, the beach offers a welcome change. Apart from the many temples, the Vivekananda rock makes for a spectacular sight not worth missing.
Hampi is like a 2 sided coin -serenity on one side, full of culturally rich stories from the Vijayanagara Empire, and salvation on the other with the sin city of Hampi, the ‘hippie’ island. Once upon a time, Hampi meant temples, temples, and more temples. History and heritage served hot on a platter of sun-baked boulders and quiet village life. But today it has more to offer for the low budgets and ‘high spirits’.
Croatia is the perfect blend of everything; mouth-watering food, crazy shopping, stunning beaches and not to forget the drool-worthy men! We could go on and on about the shopping scene here, but we think its best experienced. Definitely value for money!
Sikkim is one of the most serene and peaceful places to visit. The sight of the Himalayas, the rising of the sun amidst the snow cap mountains, the clean glacial water of the valleys, the freshness in the air, the sound of the monks chanting and the simplicity of life in the north east is something that everyone must experience once in a lifetime.
Probably the best kept secret of Tamil Nadu, Tuticorin is the answer to a tired mind and soul. We parked ourselves at Aqua Outback which is a short drive from the city. Equipped with air-conditioned rooms, gastronomic food, water sports, clear blue sea and an amazing host, it is a perfect weekend getaway.
We were visiting family in Singapore and wanted to do a quick weekend getaway to Bintan Island, Indonesia. It takes about an hour by comfortable catamarans. Bintan caters for all; whether you are an adventurous explorer or enjoy relaxing in a tropical paradise with endless pearly white beaches, a wide varieties of resorts and holiday activities including golf, spa and water sports.
We were staying at Indra Maya Pool Villas at Nirwana Resort Hotel. This villas are an exquisite fusion of exotic Indonesian, Thai and Chinese architectural elements. The resort offers a huge variety of activities including water sports, spa, bowling alley, basketball to name a few.
We have just uploaded our first vlog. Would love to hear your feedback and comments.
If you tell someone your visiting Bangkok, I am sure they will say, “You must visit a floating market”. I actually heard this comment when I told someone, I just returned from Bangkok. And when my reply was, “No, I didn’t go”, they were like, “Oh noooooooo”, you missed something really fun, a fabulous experience”. The truth is I did want to visit, but to do that, you need to start your day before sunrise. On my first visit, my laziness got the better of me. So on my second visit to Bangkok, just a couple of weeks ago, I decided to visit these colorful markets.
As soon as I arrived into Bangkok, the first thing I did, was got on to the internet and booked a floating market tour. I decided to visit Damneon Saduk Floating Market. This was basis all the reviews I read. This market is one of the most visited floating markets, and one of the biggest, in and around the vicinity. This tour costs approx $80 with a pick from most hotels in the city. This market is approximately 2 hours from the main city.
I started reading a little bit about what these markets are, and why they are so famous.
There is a long history behind why Thailand has these markets?
A lot of Thailand including Bangkok, are in the low wetlands, the area around is jungle and has a tropical climate. When Thailand first got inhabited, the first areas to get populated were around these rivers. Boats would be the main mode of transport and trade would take place in them.
Even today, these boats which are so colorful and all dressed up, are an interesting trade, and attracts lot of tourists.
The day arrived and I was all excited to go visit this vibrant and colorful place. The bus came and picked me up from the hotel itself. Tour operators are very punctual and arrive atleast 15 mins before your pick up time. Why I am emphasizing this is because, I met a girl Slava, from Slovakia, who was on a 3 month South East Asia tour, and she was quite surprised because in Mynmmar her tours always started an hour or more later. THAILAND IS ON TIME !!
Before the floating market, the tour takes you to a coconut plantation. They tell you how coconut sugar is made. Your get to try it out, and it tastes super yummy. I request you to only buy sugar from there and nothing else from the market in the plantation, because you get a lot more variety at the floating market. To enter the floating market, there are 2 ways, the bus directly takes you to the spot, or you sit in Thai speed boat, and ride through the canal, with beautiful views of authentic Thai houses and lifestyle.
Tip: Please carry a waterproof camera, as a lot of water splashes inside the boat.
On the tour I made friends, with Slava, who I mentioned earlier. We decided to explore the market together.
The point where the boat stops there are very few other boats selling goods. Thats not the actual market. You need to walk a few hundred meters and then you reach multiple souvenir shops. They sell everything right from Jade Buddha to goodies made of coconut shell, to batik dresses, costume jewelry, bags and the famous tuk tuk. As we move further we could pose with the python and hold a lemur (pic with a baby monkey). At first we were very scared to take a picture, because we noticed a few people who would hold him, he didn’t let go of them. So we moved ahead and entered where the boats with traders begun. But before that you need to stop at a picture point (your at a height) and the floating market below you), and pose.
Then we walked down the steps, just to enter a place so vibrant, colorful and full of life.
The merchants in the boats sell thai fruits, corn, vegetables. On either side there are food stalls where you get to taste delicious thai food. Slava and me had some pad thai, and thai tea.we were sitting there and just soaking in the vibe of this very gorgeous place. We took a lot of pictures. The merchants in their boats will pose for you. At such an awesome place you don’t even realize how time flies.
On our way back up we ate some Dosa with egg yolk filling, that slightly sweet and Slava ate the one with carrot and basil. That is savory and a bit spicy. These dosas are unique, and are a speciality here. You can have pancakes too.
TIP: Please do not eat breakfast. There is a whole lot ion great food in the market.
On our way out, Slava mentioned, that she only came to the market to take photo with the Lemur. We both were actually scared, but then she decided to take a photo with Tichi. I too decided to go ahead. And believe you me, holding him was the cutest, most cuddly feeling. I just didn’t want to let go. I wish I could take you home, Tichi. I miss you
Some things to remember at a Floating Market:
Carry cash with you, most places do not accept credit card.
Bargain at the souvenirs shops, slash the price by atlas 60% when you start. You by the end will pay 40%- 45%less than quoted price.
Don’t forget to pose with the lemur. U need to pay 200 baht. But its sure worth the shot
Don’t eat breakfast and come, there are lots of thai delacies in the market.
I recommend to take a tour and not travel on your own, as its very far, your taxi bill will be 3 times the tour cost.
Take a tour that makes you experience the thai boat through the canal to reach the market.
If you wants pictures of the canal while your in the boat, carry a waterproof camera.
Where shorts or 3/4th as in the boats you need to sit crossed legged and bottom of pants if full, will sure get dirty.
Yes a floating market is a check on the bucket list!
As we all know, shopping is a girl’s best friend. We get immense pleasure and a certain glint in our eyes when we enter a shop and feast upon the numerous things it has to offer us. We mentally make plans on how to make space for extra clothes in the already stuffed closet or to explain the 4th pair of shoes for the month or even how to make space in the suitcase to carry home the ‘must-have-or-I-will-regret-it-later’ souvenir. For a shopping addict like myself, I found Croatia an inexpensive destination and hence could take home a lot of their local flavour with me.
Here’s what a typical tourist shouldn’t miss shopping for in Croatia:
1. The neck tie: I am sure, you will wonder “why”? Wouldn’t you want to gift your special someone a tie from the land where it was invented? Yes, the humble necktie was founded by the Croats. During the war in the 17th century, small neckerchiefs were worn by the Croatian mercenaries. This would tie and hold their jackets on their backs. King Louis XIII took a fascination to this accessory and found it very decorative. He liked it so much that he made it a compulsory accessory at all his royal gatherings. And to honor Croatian soldiers, he gave it the name, “La Cravate”, which is what the necktie is called in France, even today.
2. Sea Salt: Known as ‘white gold’ of the Adriatic, Croatia has the highest and best quality of salt producing methods. This salt is available at shops for cooking purposes, bathing purposes etc. You must definitely not miss out the very delicious sea salt chocolates.
3. Wooden Toys: In and around Zagreb, a city skirted by Hrvatsko Zagorje, you will find many toy makers who personally hand carve each toy from locally grown wooden trees. Once the men finish the carving, the women will paint them in very bright colours. Commonly found toys include trains, planes and horses. To increase the popularity and get a lot more tourists to purchase these wooden toys, they have now started hand carving wooden dolls but instead of painting them, they make them wear local Croatian clothes. This gives it a very local flavour. Infact when I was speaking to the store owner and I told her about my little globe that travels with me and makes an appearance in all my pictures, she excitedly gave me a wooden doll as gratis and asked me to take a picture of the globe with the doll at my favourite spot in Croatia.
4. Croatian Cuturica: This is a wooden flask from the outside but has a glass bottle on the inside. Owning this is a family tradition and has been carried down generations. It is used at all Croatian weddings too. I hear this legend from a local Croat.
5. Lavender: Croatia is one of the largest producers of lavender in the world. The climate and soil here are ideal for this flowering plant. The main area for growing this is around the mountainous regions of Hvar which is said to have the best quality lavender. Blooming season is in June & July. Rest of the year you can see small kiosks selling lavender in its various forms – lavender bath salt, perfumes, shower gels, dried flowers, lavender oil or fragrance bags.
6. Truffles: If you are a big fan of the mushroom kind of truffle oil flavour, you sure are going to enjoy eating in Croatia. They add this flavour in everything – from your risotto, to your pasta or scrambled eggs and even the cheese in pizza – this item sure is a delicacy. There are truffle / mushroom hunting tours in the Istria. This black or white fungus is picked from the dark woods and sold at a fortune in Croatian markets. Bring home some cheese, oils and spreads packed with this flavour, to relive your memories of Croatia.
7. Goodies: Show your taste buds some Croatian culture by trying olives stuffed with nuts, chilli & cheese, fig cakes flavoured with lavender or orange zest and last but not the least chocolates.
If you are not too much into the food scenario or maybe have more countries to travel to from Croatia and can’t carry perishables, fear not, there are plenty more souvenirs for you to choose from. From the usual magnets, coffee mugs and shot glasses that are a must to bring back home, you also get colorful hand painted glasses . One of the best place for Croatian gifts is the Dalmac market of Zagreb. For all you Game of Throne fans, there are special souvenir shops in Dubrovnik Stari Grad.
Croatia has so much local shopping, that too at such reasonable prices, that you are sure to bring home some great memories. Just be sure to carry an extra foldable bag in your suitcase to lug around your stash ;-
Wishing all you fellow travelers a Happy World Tourism Day!
So here’s our story: We are 2 girls who love to travel, Urmi from Jamshedpur and Mishky from Mumbai. We have 2 things in common: both married to Tamilians (from Chennai) and our love for travel and food! We started travelling with our folks during our younger days and right now along with our full time ventures, we are attempting to travel the world!
On realizing our common love for travel , we decided to start Globejamun, to share our passion with all of you. And yes, we have a little globe, who travels along with us.
While the Oxford dictionary defines travel in a certain way, we are very sure that every traveler has their own version. The word connotes so many different meanings.
Since today is all about tourism, we wanted to share what travel means to us!
For us it’s our life, our dream, one which gives us an instant kick! It’s a combination of a whole lot of things.
Travel to us is about,
It’s all about knowing and understanding what people in other countries do, their religion, their lifestyle, their belief, their food and everything that makes them who they are. The little insights into culture gives us a kick.One such instance, in Bhutan, they are not allowed to have a nightlife openly, so the new gen has decided to have discos underground.
We are absolute suckers of the sea, sun, sand and more so the tan. Most of the time, our travel is all about the beach. Urmi studied in the Philippines and Karishma in Los Angeles. Now doesn’t that speak for itself.
To some life is a mountain and to some a beach. We love both. That snow when it touches your palm is a magical feeling. The smell of Eucalyptus in the air gives us a happy high!
Colors of the sky:
We love to capture various colors in the sky. As children we learnt the sky is blue, but travelling taught us otherwise. Right from the green of the Northern lights, to the pink and purple in Hampi, orange and reds in Dubrovnik, we’ve seen it all.
When we travel we need some kinda adrenaline rush. No travel is complete without it. Right from jumping from 18,000 feet to going 180 feet below sea level, we’ve done all of it. Next on our list is to bungee jump. Can’t wait for that!
Aah we love those big bad cities, the glitz, the glamour, the dizzle dazzle. Be it NYC, Mishky’s favorite, she has been there 6 times and can go there again or Sydney or Shanghai. Big cities, Big highs, fast pace. Oh we love them, and want to keep returning.
Food food food:
We just love food! Period. We love trying out the local cuisines. Thankfully we are non-vegetarians so we get a whole lot of options. And believe u me, we never eat Indian food, when visiting other countries. We consider that totally criminal. We love experimenting with local flavors.
Shop till you drop. That’s exactly what describes us. But it’s all about shopping what’s local to the land. And yes we shop for our little globe too. Our aim is to burn a little hole in the hubby’s pocket.
We love to do what the locals do. We live by #liveauthentic #belocal
So that’s our travel, our life , our dream.
Do leave us a line , on what travel and tourism means to you… and of course,
The day was 25th August 2017 and I was extremely excited to welcome my Bappa home! The festival is know as ‘Ganesh Chaturthi’ in Mumbai and ‘Vinayaka Chaturthi’ in Chennai. Although I live in Chennai, my better half was born and bought up here, I am a hard core Bombayite by heart! I proudly call myself SOBO (South Bombay) girl. So when I moved to Chennai 2 years back, I started to celebrate every festival ‘Mumbaiya’ style. Same is the case with my Ganesha. He comes home in a true King style, and my family and friends come to take his blessings.
So now every year I get to experience Ganesha festival in both Mumbai and Chennai. Usually the first 3-4 days I’m in Chennai and the second half of the festival in ‘Aamchi Mumbai’. There is a big difference in the way the festival is celebrated in both the cities. In Chennai, the festival is more about religious prayers and thanksgiving to God. Every Tamil household keeps a Ganesha made out of mud and they offer sweet Kozhukkattais.(sweet dumpling made from rice flour, with a filling of grated coconut and jaggery)
Here are some Ganeshas that I enjoyed seeing in Chennai:
The Corn Ganesha
Majority of the body is made with Indian corn( Sorghum ), to give an earthy color. Few parts that need to be highlighted are made with the ripe yellow corn and the light green skin.
The Watermelon Ganesha
This lord is made with 3500 watermelons. I totally loved the creativity.
As you can see Chennai Ganesha’s are more sober looking and monochrome. The festival is a quite affair here. This is in complete contrast to Mumbai where the pandals(a marquee) are open 24*7 and the Lord is very colorful. The pandals have loud music playing and the festival is a reason to socialize and enjoy.
Some of the Mumbai Ganeshas that I loved are:
The Red Ganesha
This Ganesha belongs to Pratibha Industies. They have had this Lord come to their pandal for 35 years now and every year he wears the color red.
This Ganesha’s color was so eye catching. That pearl lilac was something I have never seen before. This one is an avatar of Lord Vishnu, and is made with 4 animal forms: fish, turtle, boar and lion.
There is an area in Mumbai, called Khetwadi. You cannot miss walking around Khetwadi during this festival. It’s like a mela (a fair) and you can visit atleast 15 Ganesha pandals.
The Lord above is the King of Khetwadi, infact every year this Lord is the winner at the “Times of India Ganesha Utsav”(a competition held by a leading publication for the best creativity/theme with which the God/pandal is made). The Bhojan (food) that is offered to the God is mouth watering!(The picture on the right)
Fort-Icchapurti Ganesh(The Lord who hears your desires)
This Ganesha, is one of the most peaceful Ganeshas I have ever visited. The chant brings you inner pease and calm.
P.S. – His right palm which is made of pure gold.
This is undoubtedly my favorite! Made up of 30,000 pieces of Cadbury, a total of 69 kgs of chocolate! It’s miraculous how there ain’t a single ant out there. The temperature of the pandal is maintained by 4 air conditioners.
It’s been 3 days since all the Ganeshas have been immersed in the sea, and I’m totally missing them! Mumbai seems like a different place when he is around. Every year, I wait for him to come back to my home, and bless all my near and dear ones!
Lord Ganesha, till we meet again!
The land of ‘Thunder Dragons’ or ‘Druk Yul’ had been on our minds for the longest time. Most of us have heard about Bhutan’s GNH (Gross National Happiness) and how it’s been called a ‘Happy Nation’. Trust us; there is more to that country: their awe-inspiring architecture, magnificent mountains, soothing air, friendly people, reverence for the King & Queen, amongst many others. The more we read about this Himalayan Jewel, the more we wanted to go and see it for ourselves.
To the best of our capabilities, we try to fit in a local festival into our itinerary whenever we visit a new country. Keeping the much talked about Paro festival in mind, we booked a seven nights trip to Bhutan covering Phuentsholing, Paro, Thimphu and Punakha in April 2017 (Looking back, we wish we could have spent another week exploring some more of the off-beat places). Needless to say Bhutan’s beauty is impeccable! Some of the places you just cannot miss are:
Tiger’s Nest or Paro Taktsang monastery in Paro is by far the most iconic symbol of Bhutan. Legend has it that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery. Hence the name – ‘Tiger’s Nest’. The trek takes about 6 hours which includes the tour of the monastery. The trail is uphill but not very steep, pretty doable we must say. It is tiring yes, gives you a serious fitness check (if you don’t believe in any form of exercise, like us!) but believe us, once you reach the top and inhale the pure and serene air, you will forget the aching bones and the gasping you experienced. The scenery over the valley is just mind blowing – completely lined with prayer flags and prayer wheels.
Pro tip – Your ticket entitles you to a guided tour of the monastery and you don’t really need a guide for the trek. Avoid using the horse service. It looks very scary and of course spare the poor thing!
Paro Tshechue/Paro Festival which happens in the month of April at the Rinpung Dzong is a series of dance performances by the monks and laymen wearing ornate costumes and masks. It is said that one gains merit by attending these festivals. (WooHoo! Brownie points for being a part of this) We woke up at 3am (we surprise ourselves by doing things like these :p ) to witness the Thongdrel festival – which is an unfurling of a massive embroidered painting of Guru Rinpoche. It is considered so sacred that simply seeing a Thongdrel unfurl is said to cleanse one’s sins!
National Institute for Zorig Chusum in Thimpu is a must visit! It’s a government initiative to preserve local art and craft. It offers courses on Bhutan’s 13 traditional arts which includes calligraphy, painting, sculpture, wood carving, casting, pottery, embroidery, tailoring, weaving, masonry, silver and gold smith workshops. The discipline and skills that the students exhibit is extremely impressive!
Buddha Dordenma located in Thimpu city is a gigantic 51 meter Buddha statue which houses 12,500 smaller Buddha statues in it.
Do Chula Pass is a picturesque mountain pass in the snow covered Himalayas on the way to Punakha from Thimphu. It has 108 memorial stupas built in the honour of Bhutanese soldiers who were killed in war with Assamese insurgents.
The three day Rhododendron Festival at the Royal Botanical Park in Lamperi aims to create a platform for eco-tourism. Bhutan is home to about 46 species of Rhododendrons.
The majestic Punakha Dzong situated at the junction of PoChu and MoChu rivers served as both religious and administrative centres of Bhutan.
House of Juliet: Punakha had a real version of Romeo (Singye) and Juliet (Galem) from the 14th century. It’s a touching love story of two ordinary people and their extraordinary love for each other, who reunited after death. This historically built house which is in ruins now, belongs to Galem (Juliet). News has it that it is getting converted into a museum of love!
Other attractions that can be visited:
Paro: Chelea Pass
Thimphu: Chuzom (confluence of Thimphu & Paro rivers)
King’s Memorial Chorten
Textile and Folk Heritage Museums
The National Library
Trashi Chhoe Dzong
Handicrafts Emporium and local crafts bazaar
Punakha: Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten
Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang Nunnery
When in Bhutan, MUST DO’s:
1. Beat the cold with a hot mug of Butter tea. You have to taste it to know what it is!
2. Savour the national dish of Bhutan, Ema Datshi – a delicious stew of chillies and yak cheese.
3. Dress up in the traditional Kira (for women) and Gho (for men). You can experience it at Simply Bhutan (Thimphu)
4. Drink at the local bars in Thimpu. (I fell in love with the singer at Mojo Park. What a voice!)
5. White water rafting at PoChu river (it has bigger rapids than the MoChu river)
6. Chew the local betel nut leaves (It stinks and tastes horrible but gives you a kick!)
7. Sing some Salman Khan hits with your guide and driver (Salman is a rage in Bhutan)
8. Observe traffic police in Thimphu. There are no signals, so the policemen constantly are moving their hands,to manage traffic. It’s a sight worth watching.They do a brilliant job, and the traffic is well controlled.
9. Take an hour of your time and visit Thimphu post office. The picture below tells you exactly what you can do.
10. Visit Chimi Lkakhang in Punakha and observe the houses.
Hotels we stayed at:
Paro : Hotel Tashi Phuntshok (excellent location, great room and food)
Thimphu: Hotel Migmar (average room and food)
Punakha: Damchen Resort (beautiful spacious room, average food)
Flights: Rs. 22,000/- per person (Delhi – Paro – Delhi) (if booked in advance)
Package: Rs. 55,000/- per person (includes accommodation, all 3 meals, AC tempo traveller with driver, guide, all permits, all transfers & sightseeing)
A trip for 2 is approximated at a little over Rs. 1,50,000/- (approx. 2340 USD)
We used Norbu Bhutan Travel Pvt. Ltd. The guide and driver were extremely friendly and accommodative.
Planning your Bhutan trip? Have some queries? Shoot them in the comments section right away!
“Yay, I’m finally going to America. It’s my first holiday abroad. And wow, almost a month!” I was only 9 years old and it was the summer of 1995. Those days it was a big big deal – taking a trip abroad. But my Pops made it happen for me, and it was truly a dream come true!
Pops, yes that’s what I call my father, my lifeline, my everything. Where should I start from? I’ve known him for 32 years and can write pages about him. His first trip abroad was when he was 32, on a job in Mount Senia Hospital, NYC. He took his first International flight with 7 dollars in his pocket and spent 6 dollars of it to see two movies on his journey. The balance 1 dollar was used at a public telephone booth to call the person who came to receive him at the airport. So it’s Friday evening, this man’s first time in New York City, and he has no money in his pocket. I’m talking about 1976 – the age of withdrawing money only from banks, no ATM machines and most importantly no cell phones. Being a weekend the bank was also closed. So what does my Pop do? He’s goes to Bloomingdales, picks up a very fancy suit and pays a heavy price by cheque. Then goes to the return counter, returns the suit and takes back the price in cash. Smart way to survive his first weekend in New York, Eh?
Pops has always been a super smart traveller. He knew exactly how to get his way around in an unknown place. My fondness and love for travel is something I have inherited from him. Pops is a Doctor by profession and his profession has allowed him to travel a lot. Right from attending conferences in Barcelona to setting up Dialysis units in Mauritius to even giving talks in Sri Lanka – he has done it all.
I will never forget this incident from about 9 years ago that completely changed my impression of travel. Pops was travelling to Srilanka and didn’t want to go alone. It was a flying visit of hardly 2 days & 1 night. Nobody in my family wanted to disrupt their routine and appointments for such a short trip. I being the youngest, Pops literally dragged me along. He wanted me to experience life. To literally see the world and not stay in my cocoon in Mumbai. Hesitatingly I agreed. And believe you me, in that so called little time I did a city tour of Colombo, saw some of the famous hotels, went to Odel and did some shopping, drove to Bentota and spent the night there, got a massage and also visited a beautiful Buddha temple, that had a branch taken from the tree where Buddha attained enlightenment. The cherry on the ice-cream was picking up a Noritake cutlery set and a LOT of Dilmah flavoured teas. That really short trip made me realise that when life gives you the opportunity to travel, take it! Even if it’s just a weekend getaway. The sights, sounds, lessons you learn, exposure to different cultures and opinions is not just refreshing but absolutely life changing. It broadens your horizons and your outlook to life.
Little did Pops realise that after that getaway I became a travel addict. I would join him every time he had to travel. He’s always treated both his children equally. His famous dialogue is – “I have 2 eyes and I’m not a squint”. So when my brother went to Canada for studies, I too was sent to California for higher education. Oh that one year of living in the USA changed my life totally!!! All my lessons came from – Travelling like a local, not a tourist!
Unforgettable Travel Tips from Pops:
1. Always travel very light – whether you are travelling for 5 days or 20 – pack just 2 pairs of jeans and many tops. It not just keeps the weight low but it gives you a chance to shop there as well 😉
2. While returning from a country where the time lapse is a lot, take a flight that reaches your city by 7am. Take a power nap for an hour and immediately head to office. This strategy helps to overcome jetlag.
3. On city tours that span the whole day, eat a heavy breakfast in the morning and a heavy, early dinner. Since lunch is on the go – keep it light.
4. If you are travelling solo or as a couple, use public transport to get from the airport to the hotel. If more than two of you are there, hire a cab.
5. Drink a lot of water and take short walks around the airplane. This helps you overcome jet lag as well as deep vein thrombosis.
6. Carry an umbrella/ windcheater always. In most western countries you get the odd drizzle at any point in time. Don’t let rains ruin you travel plans.
7. Start young. You will have time and energy on your side.
8. Always carry a copy of your important documents with you and also leave a copy back home with someone reliable and someone who can be easily accessible. Also carry a softcopy of these documents on your phone or in your email. Password protect the folder.
9. Alert your bank about your travel plans in advance. You wouldn’t want the bank authorities blocking the card assuming that there is suspicious activity when you go around swiping it in a foreign country.
Today Pops celebrates 7 decades on this planet and I want to say, “My love and passion for travel is because you taught me to travel right, travel smart!” So here’s wishing you a very Happy Birthday. May you keep celebrating and keep travelling!
Yeh Dilli hai mere yaar.. Bas Ishq mohabbat pyaar !
This is a post, I’ve done in collaboration with a friend Kirti Arora (blog: The Fashion Flings) from Delhi. I requested her write about it because the city is close to my heart. My Mom is from there, so lots of childhood memories.
Now over to you Kirti
Delhi is one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world. It is famous for its rich history, vibrant culture
beautiful monuments. From the chaos of old Delhi to Lutyen’s, Delhi can offer you different flavors and
leave you spellbound. I can very well say that whosoever visits Delhi, falls in love with this city.
Dilliwale welcomes everyone with a bright smile. People come here to study from different states, to
work and earn their living and call it their home. The rich past coupled with thriving culture brought in
by migrants from all around the world, gives Delhi an identity that is uniquely its own.
As Delhi is the capital of India and people visit who visit north India makes a hard stop at Delhi, as it is
well connected by all means of transport. So, I thought even if you have one day to spend in Delhi, here
are the top few things which you shouldn’t miss.
I’m Kirti Arora. I’m born and brought up in Delhi. I’m a part time fashion, beauty & lifestyle blogger. You
can follow and subscribe to my Blog “ The Fashion Flings” to follow my stories 🙂
Being a Delhiite, I thought it would be perfect to express my love towards “Saadi Dilli” by sharing an
ultimate guide to explore Delhi the Dilliwala way!
I would like to Thank Karishma for giving me this opportunity.
Here’s your ultimate guide to explore Delhi the Dilliwala way!
It is well connected with Delhi metro to travel within Delhi NCR.
Not to forget Delhi Airport is also ranked second best in the world 🙂 Yes, you read it right! Here’s a
glimpse of the magnificent Delhi Airport!
The hasta (Hand gestures/expressions) mudra represents the heritage of Indian classical dance forms.
There are 12 enchanting Asanas of Surya Namaskar sculptures at Delhi airport.
TOP THINGS TO DO IN DELHI
You can cover the Delhi tour by opting for “Delhi Darshan”
Delhi Tourism has provided Hop on-Hop off (HOHO)AC buses to explore Delhi at your own pace. You can select the package as per your feasibility. You can chose the package that best suits you, based on the no. of days. For e.g., you just have 1 day to explore Delhi , so you can chose their 1 day package in which you can pick and choose up to 8 popular monuments, museums and markets to cover at your own pace. You can check the detailed info – HERE. http://hohodelhi.com/sightseeing-2/
If you don’t want to opt for this bus ride,here’s a list of top 10 places which will cover the beautiful buildings, temples, shopping & food joints.
1. Lotus Temple -The Bahai Lotus Temple is one of the world’s most beautiful religious buildings and a must-visit when in Delhi.
2.Gurudwara Bangla Sahib – It is one of the most prominent sikh pilgrimage situated in the heart of delhi,Connaught place.
3.DilliHaat – Is famous for its craft bazar, and food joints. It is operated by Delhi tourism.You can buy unique crafts and artwork from DilliHaat. It is situated in INA.
4.Connaught Place – CP is best described as the heart of Delhi. It lies in the center of Delhi, has various restaurants, shopping centers, street food, street shopping, Almost everything.
6.Akshardhaam Temple–This unique statue has 48 statues of Ganeshji, 200 sculpted figures of great avatars, devotees of Indian culture. It also hosts 25 minutes of the spectacular “Sahaj Anand Water Show” which creatively blends lasers, lights, fire, fountains & projections. It’s a must visit place for an enthralling experience.
7.Kingdom of Dreams –India’s first live entertainment, theatre and leisure destination.Kingdom of Dreams is a perfect fusion of Indian culture, art & crafts, heritage and cuisines found under a single roof.Zangoora and Jhumroo are the two Bollywood musicals exclusively staged at the Nautanki Mahal. It is situated in Gurgaon.
8.ChandniChowk – It is also called as “Old Delhi”. As the name suggests, it is one of the oldest and the busiest places in Delhi. You can find almost anything here. Famous for Jewelry, stationary, silver, zardozi and lace items,antiques, sarees, suits, bridal lehengas, food joints and great religious places (SisganjGurudwara, Jama Masjid) – As I said, everything!
9.HauzKhas Village – HauzKhas village is a popular complex in HauzKhas which has some amazing restaurants. It is famous for its night life, hauzkhas fort & lake.
WHAT TO EAT?
- Food – Delhi is famous for its North Indian delicacies & street foods. I’m Punjabi and a big time foodie hence, my love for food is obvious. It is so difficult to list down only few places here as wherever you go, every place has its own food specialty. So, discover food your own way and as you walk down the streets of Delhi. But make sure , you don’t miss the below:
- ParantheWaliGali – Situated in ChandniChowk, famous for their Paranthas. Paranthas are the staple breakfast in Punjabi household, no1 can beat Punjabi paranthas hence, paranthas are a must try , if you haven’t tasted it yet, you are surely missing something in your life.
- Chaat – Alookitikki, alookichaat, Natraj ked ahi bhalle in chandnichowk, golgappe.
- Butter Chicken – You must have tasted it in all other parts of India but for a proper Mughlai taste head to “Gulatis restaurant” at Pandara Road
- Chholebhature – “Sita Ram Diwanchand” It is mostly available in the breakfast menu options in many restaurants. They are heavy and rich in spices.
- Nihari – It is a slow cooked meet. You can head to Karim’s –Jama Masjid to experience this Mughal delicacy.
There’s a lot more apart from this list,Delhi has lot to binge on. You will get tired of eating but this city will leave you craving for more. Check other options HERE
Fine Dining restaurants
- Parikrama: The revolving restaurant –This restaurant is located on the 24th floor of a building and gives very astounding and breathtaking panoramic view of Delhi.
- On the Water Front – Perfect for your date night.
- Amour – The Patio Restaurant, Cafe & Bar- Perfect ambience with a lake view.
- Lakhori – Haveli Dharampura – Royal Dining experience in a 200 year old restored Haveli with cultural experiences like Kathak, Classical Music, & Kite flying
- Lodhi-The Garden Restaurant – Beautiful ambience.
And there are zillions of cafes in CP &HauzKhas , check them out on Zomato.
PRO TIP – Party in Hauzkhas or CP. Some of the best options are Lord of the drinks, MTV FLYP, Social ,Tamasha, F Bar.
WHERE TO SHOP?
- Janpath – It is famous for its street shopping, you can buy trendy accessories, denim shirts and dresses, aviators at super affordable price. Pro Tip – Bargain more than 50% at the street shops here.
- Sarojini– Have you heard of that song “KudiSaturday ..Saturday kardirehndihai,sarojinikekapdepehenkejati madam disco” . Yes, they are talking about Delhi’s Sarojini Nagar market here. You can buy dresses at throwaway prices here. Again, bargaining is the key. You can even score a sequins dress at INR 100 and I’m not kidding!
- GK- GK -1 M block market is hot spot destination to score 1st copy branded clothes, bags, footwear, accessories. The prices are a little higher, but definitely a good buy.
- Rajouri Garden- famous stop for suits, sarees, kurta, footwear shopping. Here bargaining won’t work, coz they are proper branded shops which offer good quality clothes & I swear they are irresistible. You would definitely want to buy something for your family /friends, so this is the best market to shop any stuff.
PLACES TO COVER AROUND DELHI
Delhi is also surrounded by hill stations and various places which can be also be covered easily of you are planning to visit Delhi, depending upon the no. of days in hand. To name a few, I would recommend Agra, Jaipur as they are not that far from Delhi or if you want to explore the northern belt , You can check out other places HERE.(Link URL)
- Agra(Distance from Delhi – 243 Km) – Famous for its magical allure “Taj Mahal” which is among the Seven Wonders of the World
- Jaipur (Distance from Delhi 281 Km) – also known as Pink City as the whole city is painted in Pink color. Famous for royal palaces, lakes and their rich heritage.
History, culture, green parks & delicious food at every turn: the capital city has a lot to offer. We hope this list will help you move beyond Delhi’s tough, reticent exterior, and delve into the city’s many delights like a local!
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If you need any further information, please leave a comment in the comment section below J