Month: April 2014
The soft noise of frying, the subtle aroma of the kachori, the sight of the morning poha, the subahwali ki elaichi chai…aaaahhhh!! Just the thought of all these waters your mouth, doesn’t it? The morning affair in every Indian household apart from family members getting ready for the day happens to be the sounds coming from the kitchen. When the son doesn’t get up, he’s lured by his Mum for a plate of desi ghee ke paranthe. When the little daughter doesn’t want to have breakfast, there comes jalebi especially made by Raamu Halwai. The health conscious bahu wishes to have rava dosa, the gharelu Maa wants her son to be fed with aloo ke paranthe and the Maharaaj ji stands confused about what to cook for the day. And when it is a Sunday the whole family enjoys some yummy and heavy calorie plate of aloo kachori.
A typical North Indian breakfast consists of aloo k paranthe, pyaaz ke paranthe, matar ke paranthe served with achaar, dhania or tamatar chutney, dahi or aloo ki sabji. This is what you’ll find at any Punjabi family. Move towards Uttar Pradesh and you can savour the flavor of garma garam kachori or puri with spicy aloo ki sabzi. To complement all the spices, there comes dahi jalebi to add a tinge of sugar in the morning meal. Go Gujarat and you’ll find theplas and dhoklas making it to the dining tables early morning. Theplas are similar to paranthas stuffed with methi. Dhoklas are light snacks made with fermented batter prepared from chickpea splits or rice. Come towards Madhya Pradesh and it’s Poha with which people start the day. Poha is best enjoyed when accompanied with bhujia and sprinkled lemon juice.
As you tend to come down South, tastes start to differ big way. Major dishes on the plate for the morning consists of dosa that comes in different types, idli, vada, upma, uttapam, appam, etc. The exceptionally delicious dosa is a light fermented crepe made out of rice and is served with sambhar and tomato or coconut chutney. There’s another dosa called rava dosa that is kind of more popular because it doesn’t need fermentation. Whether you pick the rava dosala or the normal dosa, both can be stuffed with a little bit of potato and onions to form a masala dosa. It works well for people on the look-out of a little heavy meal. Made out of rava (semolina), it is as crispy and works amazingly great for a quick and light breakfast. Vada is a urad dal recipe shaped like a donut, deep fried and served with sambhar or chutney. Sambhar happens to be a spicy vegetable stew with a sour that comes from tamarind. While combination involves sambhar vada, another one consists of dahi vada which quite a delicacy. Poori aloo is one preparation that forms a part of all the parts of India although the South Indian sabji would have south Indian spices and rai ka tadka while Northern sabji would find jeera in it. Nevertheless both styles taste delicious. When it comes to South Indian breakfast, the options are plenty and if one takes the health point of views, we get to see that it is a lot more light and fat-free.
Apparently, there’s a reason behind the heavy breakfast of India. Ages back in our country, major chunk of people were involved in professions that required a lot of physical labour. In the present times, however, work is more about working on our laptops sitting on comfortable chairs in an air conditioned office. So yes, digesting heavy food does become a task for the body. Moreover, the Indian style of eating goes as per Ayurveda, the ancient medicinal aspect. According to this, eating and digestion is connected to each other. It’s about what you can digest, not what you eat. So, even though food is required for survival but if that is food isn’t accepted by your body then it’s of no use if it’s light or heavy or tasty. On a general note, a typical Indian digestive system is able to digest heavy food and is also likely to take in more spices as compared to people used to having continental items.
When it comes to keeping the calories under control, South Indian food gets an upper hand over North Indian. Whether you take the rava dosa or the uttapam, most of the dishes on the plate are quite light and easy to digest. Moreover, the coconut chutney helps nullify the effect of the spicy sambhar. And if you are one of those who don’t like having spicy food at all, just leave the sambhar aside and wobble it up with the sumptuous coconut or tomato chutney. However, it’d be quite unfair to mark North Indian food totally unhealthy reason being heavy food keeps your stomach full till the lunch time without any worries. Paranthes served in the North are one of the most fulfilling breads. There’s a sense of satisfaction that’s common to find in Indian
mothers when they see their son leaving for school/college/office with their stomachs full. Paranthes with all the butter are sure to keep you energetic all day.
Taking it further, one shouldn’t be stereotyping North with heavy food. There are some light snacks waiting to be unveiled. The Gujarati dhokla and the Marathi Poha are sure to give a sigh of relief for all the health conscious people. With their minimum usage of oil and spices, these two delicacies are one of those easy to prepare, quick and light meals. Rest of the meals of the North when taken in consideration like kachori aloo or poori aloo might turn out to be a little heavier but trust me, nothing’s better than having them garma garam on your plate on a lazy Sunday. Had a heavy breakfast today? Not to worry, the chaanch (butter milk) will help you digest it all.
The city of joy, Kolkata is in itself a great avenue to bring out the explorer within you. There’s so much to discover, to explore, to wonder, to imbibe, to absorb, to learn that it’d take ages to know the true essence of the land of Kali Ma. If you are staying in the Queen’s land and wish to break free off the monotonous life then travel options nearby include a trip to Bhubaneshwar or Puri or Sunderbans.
Sunderbans- Explore the wildlife of India by taking a walk to the Sunderbans, the mangrove forest. Take the cruises by the side of river Brahmaputra to take a sneak peek into the National Park and Tiger Reserve. The Royal Bengal Tiger, that’s going to be the catch of the trip.
Puri- The Goa of Eastern India, that’s Puri for you. Take a stroll at the beach or maybe get a message to get rejuvenate your body like never before. Experience grandeur with the Konark Sun Temple, that one place you’ll remember all your life.
Bhubaneswar- Bhubaneshwar or Bhubaneswar, the capital city of Odisha, replaced Cuttack after independence. A cultural and religious city, it is said to have almost thousand temples to its credit. Muktesvara Temple, Lingaraj Temple, ISCKON Temple and Ram Mandir, are a few temples that are quite popular among devotees and are worth visiting. Expect a lot of them to be possess the Kalinga form of architecture.
Who does not want to be a part of the ‘Silicon valley of India’? Who does not want to get a feel of the cosmopolitan IT crowd, the happening night clubs or the young college-goers? It is Bangalore, where every year lakhs of IT professionals come in with a sole aim to be a part of the place known for producing the best of geeks. The city might give them a much needed career break, it might overload them with a pool of professional opportunities and at the same time might give them that ticket to ‘pardes’. With prestigious educational institutions, alongside, Bangalore achieved a cult status in a short span of time. Owing to Bangalore’s crowd of geeks and nerds, it is important for the city to have some nearby leisure sites that could help them turn hunks and hotties (LOL). So here we are bringing to you the best getaways to chill around Bangalore on a long weekend once done with coding. No worries, the destinations are highly advisable for families too:
A place best known for its rich history bestowed on by none other than the valiant Tipu Sultan, Mysore is a wonderful choice to unwind. Visit the Mysore Palace if you wish to go back to the times of the emperor, shop around some really good sandal stuff and when it’s done, take a stroll to Vrindavan Garden. It could just turn to be the best of your weekends.
A 5 hour drive from Bangalore will take you to the serene land of Coorg. Aptly called the ‘Coffee County of India’, Coorg leave travellers mesmerized and rejuvenated with an all-pervading soothing aroma of coffee beans. Enjoy a visit to Abbey Falls, Coorg’s most popular falls or simply bring out the spiritual side of yours by paying a visit to Omkareshwar Temple. The good thing about this place is that one doesn’t fall short of attractions. Whether it’s the Raja’s Seat or Byle Kuppe, there’s simply no scope for boredom if you are on a trip to Coorg.
The mainland portion of the city of Kochi and also the commercial capital of the state of Kerela, Ernakulam doesn’t need an introduction. Flanked by temples, old churches, culture, cafes and not to mention backwaters, Ernakulam is a haven for all moods of travellers. This weekend, experience something different, experience backwaters. Enjoy a laid-back vacation in the houseboats. Wake up to the sunshine and sleep under the stars, and that’s how you get closer to the nature at Ernakulam. Give it a try!
One of the most popular shooting locales in the yesteryears, Ooty or Udhagamandalam is a wonderful hill station to explore on weekends. Blanketed by year-round pleasant climate and located amidst the Nilgiri Hills, it offers avenues such as Botanical Garden, Rose Garden, Stone House and the most spell-bounding Nilgiri Mountain Railway. To make your trip packed with cosiness, solitude and refreshing memories, pack your bags for Ooty.
Wayanad is a district that lies in the north-east part of Kerala and offers some awesome wildlife to observe. A long weekend trip to Wayanad can be termed as a bit offbeat because on one hand it has ancient ruins to observe and on the other prehistoric legends to ponder upon. Again, some fantastic caves, splendid views, cool winds and unique solace take you far from the maddening crowd to a world of surreal rejuvenation. With so many options to unburden and relax, why would one want to miss out on a weekend trip to Wayanad?
Mumbai doesn’t need an introduction. The city of dreams adorned with the Queen’s Necklace especially at midnight is the sight to watch for. A city that never sleeps, a city that is always bustling around, colourful and alive, that’s Mumbai for you. It is that one place in India that brings in a hidden you. Ages ago, Bombay was gifted to the British king Charles II by the Portuguese in the form of dowry. A one of a kind destination, the capital city draws people in big chunk from all across the nation in search of jobs, business and settlement. In the current times, it has been a great avenue for people venturing into the glamour industry and the MNC culture. With such a hectic schedule, a lot of people lookout for weekends to unwind and relax. For such moments, we bring to you some of the best weekend getaways around Mumbai to chill out and have fun with your group of friends.
Shirdi- A place that has a spiritual effect on you simply by its name, a place that draws immense crowd on a major aspect of faith and belief in the supreme power, that’s Shirdi for you. A place specifically for the ones with religious bent of mind, Shirdi draws in a number of devotees of Sai Baba, a spiritual guru who rose to popularity in the beginning of the 20th century. It is believed that prayers with a clear and honest mind help heal people and make miracles happen in their lives.
Nasik (Nashik) – A city connected with spirituality, Nashik is often considered as a base for exploring Someshwar, Wani and Shirdi. The Grape City, as it is popularly known among locals due to its massive production of grapes. A place full of life, it offers some great avenues to visit including The Coin Museum, Pandavleni Caves, Artillery Centre, Deolali Camp, etc.
Matheran- After a long and tiring week, all a person looks forward to is a cool and relaxing weekend. Mumbai apart from being crowded is often struck by humid climate and at such a point of time a hill station works as a solace to one’s heart and soul. Treat your family to a ride in a toy train and some spectacular views; treat them with a road trip to Matheran.
Lonavala- One of the most populous destination among the glamour world; yes, we are talking about Lonavala. Almost every second star owns a farmhouse at either Lonavala or Khandala. Talk about campfires and close knit night parties, these two places always win the show. During the monsoon season, expect a chunk of tourists. The hill station is easily accessible and can be reached via road as well as local train available from Karjat station.
Khandala- The twin of Lonavala, Khandala is as much popular among travelers. A popular destination among hikers or trekkers, this place offers a pleasant climate that works equally for the romantic at heart and adventurers by birth. Look for the Tiger’s Leap, Duke’s Nose, Ancient Jail, Bhushi Lake and Karla and Bhuja Cave.
Goa- If you can manage to travel a little more than the above mentioned places then there could be nothing better than Goa to enjoy a short holiday. Considering the fact that the coming weekend has an added off with the Good Friday, an escapade to the land of beaches could turn out to be one of the best times of your life. Get into the summer mood, pack in some haute dresses and there you are, to splash in the waters, to dance your heart, to get a spa like never before and to enjoy a sun bath.
Despite India being a land of varied cultures and communities, the top three, which make up for the most travelers, are Maharashtrians, Bengalis and the ever-colourful Gujaratis.
India has no dearth of tourist places, and that is why when Bengalis, Gujaratis and Maharashtrians get enough of their respective states, they head to the state of monuments or to the scenes of snow, and yes the extra layers of clothing, which is as normal as a housefly buzzing in our ears, are as hilarious to these travelers that they spend half of their dressing up time in cracking jokes on the boots and the thermals.
There are twenty five “Kolhapuri Sandal” wearers with “Gandhi Caps” on their heads. It is easy to imagine them sitting under the shade of a lone tree at a roadside. Call them a pack of amiable gentlemen and ladies, who mostly prefer to travel in groups, lest the North Indians play any duping game for their next sightseeing location.
This is the Maharashtrian way of ‘travel.’ The travelers from this zone of India, neither ‘too west’ nor ‘deep south, just somewhere in between, they carry with them the culture of Maharashtra, with a north-like twist. A traditional saree with a hat on top, safari suit with Ray Ban aviators, of course the same purchased at SN, Janpath-like sprees, where they’ve indeed been duped off a couple of extra bucks.
The Maharashtrian culture of travel adheres to the strict ‘only peanut oil preparation,’ but they crave for the mustard oil chole bhature. Call it the magic of traveling or the sheer inability to carry their own kitchen stock, the hapless individuals savor even those cuisines and preparations, which otherwise appear Frankensteinish to them.
Bengalis, you can spot the women with their uber red and ultra big vermillion mark on their foreheads while the sugar-factory loving Gujjus could be heard miles away when they laugh or even call out someone.
Try telling Gujaratis how wonderful the Taj is, the history behind it, the glory of the monument, the reason it is being considered one of the wonders of the world, they would nod, listen and tell you in turn about how amazing their very own Gujarat is.
However, tell a Bong about the same, they would be interested in knowing more, would probably even counter question to flaunt their knowledge about the place, born intellects that they are!
Marathi, Bengali or Gujarati, travellers are defined not by which state they belong to or which language they speak, they are defined as individuals who have the heart to head on a journey, to explore the unexplored, and to continue carrying the curiosity about the world, even if their own world is somewhere locked up in the pursuit.
Guest Blog/Edited by Rajesh Baruah