asiatique the riverfront bangkok

Let’s start with a confession. This was some sort of a tourist hotspot. The approach by road is bad. You have to go by a boat that is specially run by Asiatique. Everything about it sounded like a tourist trap. And, to add to add to stigma, friends who went there had loved it. So, the challenge of discovering something that very few knew or liked was also gone. I was not at all kicked about going to Asiatique. But, eventually, we did. Right after…Continue Reading “Asiatique the riverfront, Bangkok”

indique jodhpur

Lately, we have hit on a formula. Food trips. Some cities may be stinky, some sights may not be worth the pain, some plans may not work out etc etc. Then, fall back on food. And,it works every time. This time, after being fed up of the general stink of Jodhpur, we decided to eat the very best places. Indique was at the top of the heap. And, it was such an antidote to everything else. Amazing view of the fort. Amazing khada lamb. This…Continue Reading “Indique Restaurant, Jodhpur”

shahi samosa jodhpur

The shahi samosa is not a snack, it is a meal. It was the size of my palm and my palms are like any other ape’s. And, it was spicy and awesome. But what was remarkable was the alu bonda. The moment you bite into it, the universe smells of hing. It is massively spicy, has onions and garlic etc too. In my estimation, the bonda was way more potent than the samosa. In contrast, the mirchi bhaji was nice and the green chili sort…Continue Reading “Shahi Samosa, Jodhpur”

ginkgo japanese bangkok

Bangkok is spotlessly clean but it’s hard to find a public toilet within the city streets. Tourist places have plenty. So, as a last resort, I walked into a Japanese restaurant near Sala Daeng station for a beer and a pee. Sadly, they could not serve beer till 5 in the evening. Some rule that bars restaurants from serving alcohol before 5 pm. Even Seven Elevens that sell alcohol have these time rules. Anyway, in the absence of beer, I ordered a chicken thigh and…Continue Reading “Peeing in Japanese”

naga cafe sathorn

How do you eat in an unknown place? You pore over tripadvisor, ask friends and bloggers and spend days on internet planning. I did pore over the internet. But eventually, the places we ate at were places we found through just walking around. If you can feel vibes and trust your instinct, you will end up eating well or you will have an experience anyway. To think that there is only one best way to navigate a city is stupid and you should be open…Continue Reading “Naga Cafe, Sathorn, Bangkok”

lingaraj lassi bhubaneswar

My first Punjabi lassi was in Delhi in 2001. It was that shop under the tree in Ber Sarai. We had just landed in Delhi a couple of days before, I was to join Dschool and a friend had to join IIMC. We were looking for a place for him. Anyway, the lassi. It came for 15 bucks, a tall steel glass, all white with froth at top. He kept it on the counter. I waited. I had paid 15 in advance, he was not…Continue Reading “Lingaraj Lassi, Bhubaneswar”

shiraz at bangalore soma vineyards

Magic is an overworked term. Eating burgers magical, almost everything on insta is magical, having a coffee with a friend is magical. But anyway, let me not push the boundary and go with magical this once. Soma Vineyard is owned by Darby Raju and Aruna. Raju is the kite and Aruna is the nail in the ground that keeps it tied. Raju is flamboyant, a mine of information and a great host – someone you could be highfiving and hugging within an hour of meeting….Continue Reading “Bangalore Soma Vineyards – A must do in Bengaluru”

hotel maurya pinetop

On top of Nandi Hills, there is this government run restaurant. It has mixed reviews at best. It is really cheap and has brilliant views and most said it’s only the view that is good. But either my taste buds are bad or those guys are snooty. Let’s settle for them being snooty. The place is right at the top of the hill, in front of Nehru Nilaya. The food was cheap. It seems breakfast is served only on weekends and govt holidays, the menu…Continue Reading “Food at Hotel Maurya Pinetop, Nandi Hills”

For an anti-religious person, Nandi temple was something of a special place. More on that later, but how many have seen this before? Hint: It’s rudra Ganesh, not the usual rupa of Ganesh that you see but very powerful nonetheless. The lovable god that we can cuddle but what a warrior. His first showdown being with the mighty Shiva. This one is a traditional rendition of rudra ganesh. Gods have many rupas and ganesh, despite the calm demeanor and all association with prosperity, he was…Continue Reading “Rudra Ganesh, Nandi Hills”

raja rani temple odisha

I am the wrong person to write about temples. Because, I hate them. Most of them. At least, the ones with deities inside. I am indifferent to mosques and churches. Why? I have never been harassed in a mosque or hounded for money in a church. Actually, no one really cares when you are there in an Indian church. Apart from the peculiar Indian habit of leaving shoes outside, churches here are really nice, calm and friendly places. Mosques have ruled about shoes and head…Continue Reading “About Rajarani temple in odisha and a few others”

bharatpur bird sanctuary

This is a time sensitive post, in fact, an urgent one. The season is on till March and if you don’t go by then, you will have to wait another eight or nine months to see the bird mela. We entered the park around twelve in the noon and were at four thirty. In roughly four and half hours and may be going only two miles in, we had spotted more birds than we had expected in a whole trip. Let me count them out…Continue Reading “Trip to Keoladeo Ghana National Park, Bharatpur, Rajasthan”

baati at alwar dhaba

On recent trip to Alwar, we spotted this incomplete looking shack by the roadside. There was a charpai, a cooking station with a stove and a tarpaulin roof. It looked like a food place but given that no one stopped by we were not too sure. We decided to stop on the way back. It was a dhaba. The guy had nothing ready. He explained all that he could cook and how much time it would take. We decided on the dal baati in twenty…Continue Reading “Impromptu dal baati, Alwar”

bhangarh

Okay, I have to rub my hands and warm up to start this post. I personally know people who had a good time here and to some extent I did too. But if you are here to get spooked, forget it. Given that I didn’t do any research or see in photos beforehand, I was surprised by the scale of the ruin. It is not just a fort, it is a city. Coming to the scary part, if you are there on a busy weekend,…Continue Reading “Bhangarh – what’s scary is not inside the fort”

rock garden chandigarh india

Chandigarh is a good place to be in when the weather is good. If you are travelling from Delhi, Chandigarh is good for a weekend stay. Hotels usually offer good deals, there are good old and new hip places to eat at and then you can always spend the afternoons in the rock garden and spend the evenings at the Sukhna Lake. The rock garden, by the way, is not what it used to be. They are expanding the garden and now there is a…Continue Reading “Rock garden, Chandigarh”

sharma sweet shop gulab jamuns

A few days back, I got into this massive online brawl about gimmickry and marketing vis a vis substance when it comes to restaurants. A Delhi restaurant named Hotmess claimed itself to be the first aphrodisiac themed restaurant with the standard regular menu of burgers, pizzas and mezze platters and blah blahs and duhs. Paid bloggers and partisanship snuffed a debate that could have led to something. Anyway, here is me dipping a naked toe into the beehive again. A few years back, we were…Continue Reading “Sharma Sweet Shop, Amritsar and food marketing”

paan shop odisha

I was driving to Satkosia crocodile reserve and spotted this by the roadside when the traffic was slow. The name of the shop is ‘musa bhaina paana dokana’ which literally translated would mean mouse brother paan shop. Anyway, the shop looked interesting, colourful and alone under a huge tree and there was enough space to park by the roadside. So, we stopped. Apparently, the shop specializes in raja meetha paan, but that almost means nothing. Raja is a monsoon welcoming festival that lasts only three…Continue Reading “Musa bhaina paan shop, Khurda, Odisha”

mango binge in rataul

Despite all the romance about Indian summers, these are tough times. One day out in the sun and I realise I have transitioned from a village lad to a city boy. I was born and spent the initial years of my life in a thatched roof house in a village without any air coolers. In the humid coastal Odisha, they don’t work anyway. Those palm leaf handfans were all the respite that one got from the heat. From that to trying to rush from one…Continue Reading “Trip to Rataul – Discovering mangoes with Sohail Hashmi”

You don’t fall in love with hotels. They are not homes. You stay for a night and move on. Thankfully, Jaipur Inn is an inn. And, I love it. It was love at first sight. On the way back from a trip to Ajmer and Pushkar, we were tired, broken and sad. We were looking for hotels in Central Jaipur but could not make up our minds. A dear friend recommended Jaipur Inn, the same guy who had suggested Sunset Point. So, we were looking…Continue Reading “Jaipur Inn – Bani Park, Jaipur”

The dynamics of travel affect your experiences at the most basic level. Most of our countrymen know nothing of Odisha. Of the few who know know little more than Puri and Konark Sun temple. But it is not just about outsiders, many of us inside the state have not done justice to the state’s beauty too. Anyway, this preamble was needed to justify my reaction at finding this amazing place in a far off tourist destination in Odisha – Pantha Nivas at Chilika Lake. We…Continue Reading “Pantha Nivas, Rambha, Chilika Lake”