In my last post on our trip to Lansdowne, I had mentioned how small the town is. There is practically nothing to do here and that’s how I love it. You can go up and down the hill, but you will have better sights if you just sat down in a place. Bhulla Tal lake is one of the few tourist attractions. The churches of Lansdowne , the bazaar and the lake are on one road. It’s straight up the hill. They all come one…Continue Reading “Bhulla Tal Lake, Lansdowne”

It is so enticing to visit a city and bypass all the major landmarks. There are those kinds travelers – the off the trail explorers etc. I used to do that at times. Took me 12 years to see Qutub Minar and countless visits to see the Hawa Mahal. When you have ticked off all the offbeat places, the touristy places may just save the day. It is better from the front than from inside. It is extremely crowded. The narrow stairs and the eager…Continue Reading “Hawa Mahal, Jaipur”

I was in town to meet the Chief Minister. Despite my personal feelings for the political class of the state, the morning air felt good. I had around four hours to kill in the early part of the morning. I had gone to the Ambedkar Memorial Park, found it closed, walked around and be done with it in less than two hours. Bada Imambara is on the other part of the city but all other cities look smaller to dilliwallahs. If you can go from…Continue Reading “Bara Imambara and Bhool Bhulaiya, Lucknow”

Lansdowne is a small place. There isn’t too much to see and not many places to go to. It’s just one hill and that’s why we loved it. Also, a reason why we wanted to stay at a more than reasonable place. We had learnt that from our time at Club Mahindra Resort, Corbett. I have nothing against backpackers, but resort tourism isn’t that bad either! You can stay at a cheap hotel in Shimla considering that you will spend a lot of time outdoors…Continue Reading “Kasang Regency Hill Resort & the trip to Lansdowne”

Nothing about Mayawati was one dimensional. Her rise, her rule or her departure from power – every bit of it is laced with controversy. But, that’s true for all or most political leaders in UP. When Mayawati won the election, people hoped that she can’t be much worse than the anarchy loving Yadav clan. When she was ruling, nothing could be worse. Once the Yadavs came back to power in Lucknow, people fondly remembered her citing corruption and waywardness is better than rampant hooliganism. Lesson…Continue Reading “Ambedkar Memorial & Park, Lucknow”

Almost all the hill stations have beautiful churches. Why? Same reason why all the tall mountain peaks have temples. You give the religious guys a beautiful spot, they will say wow and immediately get down to piling rocks and building a place to pray. Anyway, few days back, we were in Lansdowne. Given the name, it would have been surprising if the place didn’t have a bunch of churches (imagine a Rudrapur without a shiv temple!). So, the churches were there – St. Mary’s Church…Continue Reading “The churches of Lansdowne”

Old cities are like celebrities. You form a thousand preconceived notions about them even before meeting them. Sometimes, they are flattering, most of the times, not. For instance, I am a reluctant explorer when it comes to these relic towns. Though I have taken a thousand walks in Old Delhi, I love sitting around Connaught Place more. In spite of being amazed by the crowds and the 24/7 life of Cuttack, I have always preferred the orderliness of Bhubaneswar better. So, I was not exactly…Continue Reading “Hazratganj, Lucknow (I)”

Born close to the beach, I always had a weak spot for the hills. When the whole of Delhi migrates to Goa or Jaipur during the winters, I race to the hills. When the city heads to Kerala during the monsoon, I sneak into the hill stations to see the droplets from up close, to listen to the mighty waterfalls and to dip my feet into the streams and go to sleep. Recently, a friend bought a flat in Rishikesh. It was not just fully…Continue Reading “A house in the hills”

When I write about something, I want to tell you all about it. Not this time. I am being a little selfish, and by the end of it, I may just keep you guessing. Now, this story is about the epic waterfall that I had been to a few days back. It’s on the top of a very high hill. If you walk up, it might as well be seem like a mountain. It’s so little known that you can count all the people on…Continue Reading “An amazing waterfall I won’t tell you the name of”

Pushkar is not a place that you should travel to. It may be a place that you get stuck in, somewhere a bad friend drags you or you land up by mistake thinking it may be an awesome place. In any case, this post is only an account of our time there, it is not an encouragement of any sort. The best part of the town is the approach. When we started from Ajmer, we had no idea that we had to cross a hill…Continue Reading “A night in Pushkar”

Bollywood’s favorite baba has the same legend as the Mata at Vaishno Devi – you can’t visit them until you have the divine approval. We got it sometime last month and made the visit that included Pushkar and Jaipur as part of a three day trip. The drive to Ajmer is effortless with all the expensive toll roads. Though, it is not true for the drive back, as most of the flyovers and bypasses are still under works. Starting from Delhi, I did the four…Continue Reading “Ajmer Sharif – the dargah and the temple”

Bangkok for me is quite a frequently visited place. On one of my previous occasions I had even organized for my wife to come over and we could see the place together. This ended up being a disaster as she simply refused to surrender to her usual practice of reducing me to a coolie to carry the load of whatever she bought to satisfy her appetite of street shopping (yes Bangkok is a great place for street shopping). The only interesting experience was that a…Continue Reading “A Brahmin In Bangkok – Part II”

Bangkok- The very name reminds me of those umpteen discussions that we friends at the Delhi University’s VKRV Rao hostel used to have during our nostalgia inducing days.  After those hectic, hallucinating classes at the Delhi School of Economics when we returned to our hostels, intense Boys centric discussions around Bangkok and its way of life and fancy about those steaming oriental body massages being offered by those mermaid type women, with the tinkling magical music being played in the background acted as tranquillizers to…Continue Reading “A Brahmin In Bangkok – Part I”

History is a deceitful story teller. You can never trust what it says. Let’s take an example from the romance capital of the world. It is hard to imagine anyone having any negative thoughts about the Eiffel Tower. But, when it was being built, the artists of France revolted against the construction and did all they could to stop it. Here are excerpts from a petition written to the then Minister in charge: “We, writers, painters, sculptors, architects and passionate devotees of the hitherto untouched…Continue Reading “Bansberia – A half-hindu mosque & a terracotta temple”

Before we come to the historic Chandannagar (chandannagore), let’s dwell a little on Kolkata. Nothing represents the idea of India better than this city – crowded, religious, passionate, overwhelming, dirty, cheap and good food, strong women and stupid politics. No wonder, it’s the only other city that has been the nation’s capital. Somehow, I have avoided the city for exactly the same reasons I avoid religious places. An Odia has no business being in that city unless you are an aspiring plumber. But Sid travels…Continue Reading “Chandannagar – Kolkata’s French Connection”

Pamir knots is supposed to be an awesome spectacle. I will tell you the truth, I don’t care. What sort of a mountain is called a knot? The only knots that I care about are the ones that I end up with in my pajamas that my wife buys for me. Since I was a kid, my sisters used to tie my shoelaces and every other knot that needed to be tied. During festivities, when I had to wear churidaar , I will wander around the…Continue Reading “The Amazing Pamir Knot”

There was a time when Kathmandu was a hot travel destination. Some went for its sinful nightlife, casinos, pubs and compared it to Vegas. Some others went for the Hindu temples. Until a few years back, it beat Dubai as the cheapest shopping destination. Electronics, travel stuff, clothes, shoes and even guns, there was nothing that Indians could not find in Kathmandu. Then it all stopped. The years of naxalite upheaval brought this cosmopolitan country to its knees. But many still swear by its charms….Continue Reading “Kathmandu – is it on your places to visit list?”

Sid has sent another installment…. Already? I know that’s what you are thinking. Does he plan to take over the blog? Hope not. Doesn’t he have a plane to fly? Seems not. Does he do anything other than take photos? I am afraid not. Does he have anything to say in his defense? I will tell you not 🙂 Anyway, here we go. Sid was on a trip to Kazakhstan and took these photos of Lake Balkhash while flying over it. All those traitors who…Continue Reading “Lake Balkhash, Kazakhstan”

My friend and guest blogger  Siddhartha Kumar just sent me another installment – this time the Mumbai Sea Link. His Old Delhi pics were very popular, I am sure you will love these ones too. It’s not an art installation, it’s a bridge. It takes a while to realise that even concrete and steel can be so beautiful. I have stayed at the Taj Land’s End a couple of times. Each time, I will go till the end of the corridor where a window overlooks the sealink….Continue Reading “Bandra Worli Sea link”

I am not the adventurous types. When something new happens, I let others take the plunge, see how it goes, then I deliberate a lot and sometimes, try gingerly. But at times, the slowest animals find themselves ahead of the herd. And in those mysterious ways, we found ourselves on the newly opened Yamuna Expressway, also known as the Taj Expressway. We had heard that it was 165 kms long with just three entry ways and toll booths, rest is just a long six lane…Continue Reading “Yamuna Expressway – Tale of fast cars and invisible animals”