What’s hot and worth doing at the Kalaghoda fest?
This year marks the 20th year of India’s largest & most iconic art fair. Over the years the number of people has just been increasing.
Here is a quick guide on what to enjoy at the fair over weekend.
Art Installations : there are over 10 of them , but here are the unique ones.
1. Vespa power to earth
Mother Earth with its core elements of fire, wood, water, metal and air depicted through the scooters.
2. Warping Time
This wheel depicts, time since the festival was started. All the efforts that were put and over the years how more effort is being put. I totally love the colourpop.
20 years of celebrating the festival. It’s very relevant to what is happening. Artists gathering together, and putting in tons of effort. To showcase splendour to public, over the years.
Whilst, there are great installations to watch, there’s also art and literature people can create.
This beautiful lamp creation workshop, where the public, spend 90 minutes to design their own lamp. It should have some kinda special meaning for them.
Author a Book:
There are 90 different topical subjects, given as books. As an individual you could choose any number of subjects , that you want to leave your opinion on as many topics that you will like to. After few months, all 90 topics will be combined together to publish a book, which will have name of contributors.
Another really interesting thing to do at the fair is take a foot massage for 15 minutes, from a blind volunteer of the Victoria Memorial School for the Blind. It only costs 100 Rs and is a wonderful means of earning for the blind.
What to shop at Kalaghoda ?
The festival is known for unique decor, clothes, accessories. It is a great platform for budding entrepreneurs.
my favourite stalls
thenandnow: Fantastic decor and furniture hand painted in a series of colours by tribal artists. I am definitely going online and ordering some for my home.
Suchita: really awesome accessories.
Zubiya: very cool footwear. Check these out.
Shopping is subjective, so check it all out.
Food: No festival is complete without food. All restaurants in Kalaghoda area put up their stalls. Grab a grub at Chetna snacks, to get a flavour of Mumbai, and then for the sweet head over to Nutcracker to have their pancake or 7 layer cookie.
This Sunday, the singer Shaan is playing at Asiatic Steps !
During the autumn of 2017, my husband decided to take me to visit the Balkan, Our itinerary included Montenegro, Croatia and Slovenia. While we were in Dubrovnik and saw some day trip getaways, it was just a sudden plan to take a trip to Bosnia & Herzegovinia. And I am so thrilled we did this one, as Kravice and Mostar Bridge are truly hidden gems.
This country has always been a stage of war. 104 years ago in June 1914 Austrian Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in the capital Sarajevo, and thus began the First World War.
Following the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the republic proclaimed independence in 1992, which was followed by the Bosnian War, lasting until late 1995. During the 80 s and early 90s because of its geographical region sandwiched between the Serbs attacking the Croats and Croats defending themselves several innocent civilian lives were lost. The war between Croatia and Serbia completely destroyed Bosnia. A country having a monthly income per person of 2000 euros, today has 50 euros monthly per person.
However the country and their people are slowly picking themselves together and rebuilding brick by brick with the help and support of the United Nations and various other nations as well.
Having seen pictures of Kravice and the beautiful Mostar Bridge we decided to do a daytrip.
Our first stop was the beautiful Kravice waterfall. To me this waterfall was prettier than Niagra. The beautiful green colour of the water with reflection of surrounding nature sure was a mesmerizing sight. This place is actually called Niagra of Europe. However in this poverty stricken land food and alcohol is very reasonably priced. People here want others to give them business in order to have some kind of livehood. While you walk towards the waterfall viewing point there are a few shops, which sell home, made jams, honey and locally distilled liqueurs. The price point for some of these items is in the region of 1 Euro to 5 Euros approximately. Tourists do enjoy taking a dip in the calm green waters, when it is summer and water temperature is enjoyable.
The most famous attraction here is the Starri Most. When you see the bridge from the bottom, there is a beautiful arch, many buildings, including a minarat and a whole lot of greenery. The turquoise blue colour of the water is so inviting.
But the water is freezing cold. Here locals to clean the place up have a tradition of jumping off the bridge. All the tourists who are there collectively give them 10 euro per jump. Infact even the people who jump off the bridge, definitely need to shower, in order to regulate their body temperature, before they take the plunge.
The vibrant humanity and the persistent reminders of the terrible war during the mid 1990scombine to make Mostar a tear jerking experience when you leave the place. It is truly emotional even for the guide when they explain to tourists on a daily basis. The bridge was destroyed during the war and has since been rebuilt and open to public in 2004. In 2008, it has been declared a UNESCO world heritage sight.
Prior to the war, Mostar was famous for its Turkish style stone bridge, which was nearly 4 centuries old. The single-pointed arch was a symbol of Muslim society’s existence here. The architecture was an absolute marvel. It also signifies the town’s status as the place where East met West in Europe. In the mid 1990s, Mostar became a poster child of the Bosnian war.
The shops here definitely had a bit of Turkish influence like cobbled streets; they were more like roadside shops and a bazaar like atmosphere. You could definitely get some good bargain buys here. Some of the famous local items could include rugs, pottery and jewelry. There are lovely little riverside cafes where visitors could relax and have some delicious Turkish coffee.
We had a lovely tasty Bosnian lunch which included a couple of drinks along with starters like pita bread, harissa dip, and hummus.and main course dishes included lamb shwarama and shish touk for two people, all this along with Kawah (Turkish coffee) just for 10 Euro which in Croatia would easily be double to triple the cost.
On our way back to Dubrovnik we stopped at Pocetlji; a small Bosnian town on the Herzegovina side. It was a beautiful old mosque on one side and a bell tower on the other. Again here there was lovely Turkish accessories, and a lot of fresh fruit juices and jams. If your fond of fresh rasberries, you can get almost a ½ a kilo for just 1 Euro. Take some back and enjoy your bus ride back to Dubrovnik.
Some key points to be noted while travelling in this region:
- Since borders are close by it is important to carry passports and other documents for verification purposes.
- You may not be able to bargain too much in Croatia or Montenegro but one can certainly bargain in Bosnia but you do feel bad if one overdoes it given the state of affairs and socioeconomic scenario there.
- Walk carefully on the cobbled steps as you approach the bridge, as it can get slippery.
This definitely is a bucket list item when one visits the Balkans
My favorite time of the year is here! The month of Ramadan. The time to try out as many different tasty treats as I can across India. Without feeling guilty in the name of religion ofcourse! God will forgive me for all those extra calories I consume!During the week that just went by, I was fortunate to be in Hyderabad- the city of Nizams, and took my roomie on a couple of food safaris. The two places that captivated our palates were Toli Chowki and Charminar chowk ( the old city).
I must warn the faint heart that eating a Hyderabadi Iftar is a 6-course meal. Hyderabad is full of Iranian Muslims and this reflects in the food, which during Iftar is a mix of Mughlai, Arabic and Duccani (Deccan or Hyderabad).
So here is how we recommend you go about your meal, or as we call it – “Food Safari”!
The first thing to try is definitely Haleem. From the moment you enter the city, you will see this dish being served at every nook and corner. The reason it is eaten so much is its rich calorie content, which serves as an instant energy source. It is made by pounding meat (mainly goat), wheat, lentils into one big mix and is topped with dry fruits and saffron. Add a little lemon, to give it that tangy zing. Its origin lies in the Middle East but this dish is now synonymous with Hyderabadi food. Recommended places to try this dish are at – Mandar, Pista House and Shah Ghouse.
If the Haleem makes it past your digestive system, do not miss out on the famous Hyderabadi Kebabs! You get all varieties on the roadside stalls of Charminar. Right from Malai tikka, to Chicken tikka, to Pahadi kebabs and the list is endless. If it is a four-legged animal, they can make a Keabab out of it!
Don’t forget to try the Pathar ka ghost (mutton cooked on a granite stone over charcoal), giving it, its very unique flavor. Garnished with onion rings and lemon wedges it melts in your mouth. There is a special fluffy roti you can enjoy these with which is a must try.
Enjoy your kebabs at kebab house, in Charminar and …
If Arabic is what makes your taste buds buzz, try the chicken Shwarma & Chicken Muttabaq. The succulent pieces of chicken are eaten with some pita bread accompanied by a garlic dip, hummus (chickpea) dip or tahini (sesame) dip. Also grab yourself some Muttabaq also known as Murtabaq, which originates from Yemen. These are two pancakes joined together with some egg, spring onion and a lot of meat (chicken / or mutton) in between.Flavor these Middle Eastern dishes at Ice n Spice.
How can one get by Hyderabad without trying out the local Biryani. Now which one do you eat? There is the Nizam’s or the Hyderabadi Biryani,filled with lots of spices, or the Arabic Mandi which is a little less fiery than the former but has a wonderful and strong aroma and is full of flavour. Unlike its Hyderabadi counterpart, which is eaten with Salan ki mirchi and raita, this is consumed with garlic and meat broth and tomato chutney. The dry fruits in it add a great crunch to this. You can enjoy Mandi at Mandar, at Paradise, Bawarchi, Shahghouse and Shadaab restaurant.
And if you still have place left in your stomach for your sweet tooth, try some dessert! There are many Arabic sweets like Ummali, Baklava, or my favorite Kunafa: some seviya, held together with honey and mascarpone cheese. These are the tastiest at Four Season restaurant. Don’t like Arabic sweets? Not to worry. There is a whole lot of Indian variety with Kesar (saffron) and almond milk or the famous double ka meetha. This is very flavorful bread, fragranced with rose water and dripping in condensed milk. It gets all the richness from saffron and a whole lot of dry fruits. Grab a Double ka meetha at Pista House, its truly delicious and finger licking good. Want something closer to home, than drink up some rose Falooda at Shah Ghouse.
End this delightful meal, with some liquid, either a lassi especially from Hyderabad. Yes people here add a whole lot of rose, and dry fruit to their lassi, or some chai (tea), which is infused with Kesar. Shah Ghouse is a famous Irani chai shop. Not the liquid types? Grab yourself some paan, to get a minty flavor.
Some tips while eating here:
1. Eat in 2 areas Toli Chowki and Charminar.
2. Restaurants in Toli Chowki: Shah Ghouse, Mandar, Ice n Spice and Four Seasons.
3. Charminar has the most famous Pista House, so check it out. There are many around, but this is the original, and the best.
4. All your kebabs are mainly at the Charminar food stalls.
5. Arabic dessert is a must at Four Seasons.
6. Try and go in a group so there is more variety to try out
I`m already getting withdrawal symptoms from all that Hyderabadi Iftar! With all of this I’m also remembering my last year Ramadan feast in mumbai. Read about it here https://www.globejamun.com/ramadan-mubarak-eid-food-trail/
Can the next year come any sooner?
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!