The pleasure of being a mother is unparalleled and the happiness of celebrating motherhood surpasses every other happiness of life. While the United States made Mother’s Day a recognised holiday, we Indians too decided to dedicate this day to all those women who worked day and night and sacrificed their needs for the well-being of their children. Going through labour pain and delivering a baby is not an easy task, and that memory is fresh for those who have just entered motherhood. These new mothers have new ways of thinking and big dreams for their children. They want to take their kids for a world tour, show them the Alps, Disneyland, Gold Coast, Athens, and what not! For them, exploring the vivid world with their children from time to time is like a challenge-a challenge that helps them learn new things and that makes the mother-child bond stronger. Let us hear it from them:
Share your feelings as you will be celebrating your first Mother’s Day.
Arpita: Wow! My first Mother’s Day and that too of two little children. There is a feeling of ecstacy and fulfillment working within me.
Treena: My first Mother’s Day is special since me and my daughter Myra will be with my mom. I want to pay my regards to all mothers on Mother’s Day.
Rati: I feel blissful as I am all set to celebrate my first Mother’s Day.
Devlina: It is an awesome feeling to celebrate my first Mother’s Day. I feel that being a mother is what makes a woman complete. Cheers to all moms on this day!
Reshmi: Not only 8th May, as a mother every day is special and seeing my child grow each new day is a celebration.
Sanjana: It feels great to be a mother. Mother’s Day is what I have been waiting for.
Jyothi: Mother’s Day is a time for me to relish once again the joy of holding my baby tight and feeling my own heartbeats inside her.
In one line share your experience when you saw your child for the first time.
Arpita: I developed a sense of motherly pride and skepticism of carrying those cuddly twins in my womb.
Purnima: After she came out from my womb crying, a nurse had put her on my belly. It was the first time I held her. She was so warm, so soft, so small, but so cute.
Jyothi: I felt immense relief that she was crying with strong, healthy lungs. Now I realize how anxious I was for a healthy delivery.
Devlina: Tears of happiness ran down my eyes.
Reshmi: The moment was a mixture of joy, relief and pride, all at once.
Treena: With tears in my eyes, I felt that feeling of motherhood surpasses every other feeling.
Sarbani: A treasured moment that falls short of words to be explained.
Rati: Even if I had to write a book, it will be less. Myra is my life!
How many trips did you sacrifice during pregnancy?
Treena: We are avid travellers and used to go for vacations in every 2 months. During pregnancy, I sacrificed around 5-6 trips and skipped all long weekend breaks.
Reshmi: I Sacrificed the Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Japan trip with my best friends. Something I waited for a long time!
Rati: I planned to visit Lonavla-Khandala for my anniversary, but my baby landed a day before that. So no sacrifices at all.
Devlina: As I was in total bed rest, I sacrificed several trips. The most precious one was my trip to Hyderabad, where my husband received the ‘best performer’ award.
Jyothi: Most often! I managed to kill my time by watching movies on babies or episodes in YouTube related to normal deliveries.
Now, as your child is here, which place you are planning to take your child for his/her first vacation?
Reshmi: When she was 5 months old, we took her to Australia. Though she was too small to enjoy Dreamworld, but loved playing on the beaches of Gold Coast.
Arpita: I am taking my twins to Los Angeles on 20th May.
Jyoti: I am really cherished that my baby is now a part of my adventure trips. Her first vacation was in Sydney. She had a great time at Sydney aquarium watching whales, sharks and other marine creatures. I am planning the next trip with her to Thailand.
Which country do you dream to explore with your child when he/she grows up?
Reshmi: On her 10th birthday l will take her to Shanghai, her birthplace. I want to explore Shanghai with Janhavi, as many fond memories are etched with the city.
Jyothi: I want to explore many countries, but first one is Australia, because it offers several adventure activities. Then Fiji, Thailand and Europe are in my list.
Sanjana: Greece, the historical wonderland. I will bring back a book of Greek myths to read for bedtime stories. My son will have plenty to enliven the imagination.
Treena: Disneyland in Paris. We will stay in a Disney hotel, go for buggy ride, make her eat with her favourite character, watch ‘Disney Dreams’ show and lots more.
Purnima: The whole Europe, where she can see the Alps, Disneyland, Eiffel Tower, green Amsterdam!
Sarbani: Our very own India. After all, incredible it is! LOL
Devlina: India it is! Hope he will love his homeland. Wink!
Are you planning a vacation this Mother’s Day?
Devlina: Yes, a visit to my maternal home to meet my mom. It will be great for me and my mom to celebrate this special day together.
Reshmi: I have already started my trip to Kerala with my chubby cheek.
Jyothi: Yes certainly! We have bought a family annual ticket with which we can visit any place around Sydney.
Arpita: Yes, before leaving India, I am taking them to Shantiniketan, the land of Tagore.
Rati: A bit skeptical about the rush, so post Mother’s Day may be.
If you plan to gift your kid a travel kitty, which is ‘that one thing’ you would love to include?
Reshmi: A good camera, where we can capture her best moments.
Treena: A cool pair of shades for my super cool daughter. Wink!
Sanjana: Camera, so that he can capture all the special moments of his holiday.
Sarbani: A comfortable pair of shoes, so that she can walk and explore miles without getting tired.
Purnima: I will include a puzzle game in her kitty. I will love to help her solve the puzzle.
Jyothi: Her toy piggy, because she can’t leave without it.
How you think that travel with your child can change your life as a mother?
Sarbani: Being a working mom, I will spend more time with my daughter on a holiday than at home.
Rati: Travelling with Myra can turn this otherwise laid-back woman into a quick-going one. Haha!
Arpita: Travel with my twins will certainly stretch my patience. LOL. However, I am glad to do it.
Jyothi: It has changed drastically. We are busy parents with tight schedules. Travelling with my daughter has changed my priorities. Packing for a trip is a big thing now. On every trip, I make sure she gets all her necessities. Also, as a mother, I became more choosy about the place to visit.
Devlina: Travelling and few days away from regular routine will increase the bonding and understanding between a mother and child.
Reshmi: We no more travel like backpackers. Travelling with my daughter has changed my priorities as a mother. Now, her priorities are my priorities. Because of her comfort, I disagree to things like long journeys and backpacking destinations. I feel holidaying helps a mom understand her child more.
Sanjana: Travelling with my child will make me more organised and responsible as a mother. It will help me learn new things in an unknown place.
Share a special travel memory you as a child had with your mom.
Jyothi: I have many beautiful memories with my mom, but our trips to Nepal to our grandparents’ place during summer holidays are the most memorable ones. As my brothers too accompanied me, those trips turned out to be more thrilling and exciting.
Purnima: My trip to Vaishnodevi. When I got tired walking for hours, mom took me on her lap and walked up to the shrine.
Sanjana: Definitely, a holiday with mom to ‘mamarbari’ (maternal grandparents’ home). Nothing can beat the warmth of maternal grandparents.
Treena: Kashmir, where I went during my childhood. The ride through Dal Lake on a shikara with my mom and dad is etched in my mind.
Reshmi: One that frequently comes to my mind is the drive from Siliguri to Darjeeling. I was leaning on my mother’s lap, enjoying the beauty of the hills, wondering how I can touch the clouds and questioning mom about the hills. Those questions may sound meaningless now.
Rati: During our trip to Darjeeling, when we had to visit Tiger Hills during sunrise, mamma made special arrangements of my woollen clothes the previous night to keep me warm and protected. I feel every small act of a mother for her child is a thing to remember forever.
While these beautiful moms wait for their child to speak the word ‘mummy’, let us wish them ‘Happy Mother’s Day’. Go ladies, travel the world with your little heartbeats and have a mind-blowing vacation! Do share your stories with us too!
(Creative Credit: Priyanka Sharma)
From the world’s oldest zoo to colourful fairy tale castles, from kid-friendly meals to family hotels, the European continent is flooded with attractions and amenities perfect for teenagers and tiny toes. Gone are those days when holidaying abroad with children was frowned upon. So, as schools are to shut down for summer vacation and kids will be free from daily homework, we thought of mapping some European cities where you can take your little ones for a vacation of a lifetime.
Here paddle boats and bike paths galore, here photo ops and child meals flow; and here whatever you do is more than fun. Here, children take a bicycle ride or you can take them for a canal boat tour- after all, that is ‘the’ way to go in Amsterdam! With French fires and pancakes available in plenty, your child can have the most entertaining food trail ever.
Must Visits: NEMO Science Museum, Anne Frank Museum, Tropen Museum and Vondelpark.
A brilliant city with waterfront houses, turreted castles from fairy tales, colourful soaring towers, fun parks, green spaces, lakes with pagodas and a constellation of indoor attractions, Copenhagen is a paradise for young ones. For the convenience of kids, it has reserved places for prams and pushchairs on trains and buses. Also, what more you want when restaurants have children menu and hot dogs and sausages are available in plenty?
Must Visits: The gorgeously lit and the city’s crown jewel, Tivoli Gardens; Bakken, world’s oldest amusement park; Botanical Garden; Children’s Museum of Art at National Gallery of Denmark; Experimentarium; National Aquarium Denmark and Copenhagen Zoo.
Harry Potter, Peter Pan, Marry Poppins, where else can you find these remarkable classic childhood characters, if not in London? Said to be their birthplace, London with its widespread colourful castles and children friendly parks, is a sheer thrill to children of all ages. Children’s free entry to museums and discounted fares in public transportation are bonus for mums and dads.
Must Visits: Tower of London, Kidzania, Natural History Museum, British Museum, the historical Buckingham Palace; London Eye, the giant Ferris wheel and Hyde Park.
Loaded with adventure, a visit to Lisbon is incomplete without a Hills Tramcar Tour across the city. Let your child sink in fun as you all sit back on a Hippotrip run by an amphibious custom-built vehicle. Apart from an entertaining ride across the city, Lisbon’s beaches turn more happening on summer holidays as parents start flocking the sand and sea with little ones. Speckled with a range of welcoming hotels and restaurants, Lisbon is ‘the’ place to be during the upcoming summer holidays.
Must Visits: Telecabine Lisboa, Castelo de São Jorge, Museu da Marioneta
Famed as ‘Europe’s most family friendly city’, Berlin’s wooden bridges, green playgrounds, thrilling boat trips and unique festivals let kids fall in love with the city. Crafted since historic times, Berlin is no doubt an entertaining knowledge bank for children and teenagers too. Exclusive guided bike and cycle tours across Berlin are also available for them. What makes you wait then?
Must Visits: Berlin Zoo, Germany’s oldest zoo; LegoLand, AquaDome, Kollwitz Platz and several pop-up museums.
Where pizza is the food of choice, where history baffles around battles and gladiators, where literature revolves around Caesar and Antonio, there emerges a natural wonderland for young minds. Fill in your water bottles from Rome’s fountains, carry a hat along and have a wonderful vacation with your child amidst the Roman ruins.
Must Visits: The iconic landmark, Colosseum; The Vatican, Trevi Fountain, Castel Sant’Angelo, Borghese Gardens, Said Vintage Chocolate Factory.
Heard of a city where babies are left safe in their buggies while parents go shopping tension free? Know a place where hot thermal springs are connected with specific children’s pool? Reykjavik it is! From climbing to the top of Mount Esja and swimming in the blue lagoon to whale watching and making friends with wildlife at Tjornin Lake, Reykjavik is flooded with family friendly activities. Here comes your one-stop destination to visit with kids this summer!
Must Visits: Perlan, Tivoli restaurant, Reykjavik Zoo.
Sailboat races, street performers, carousel rides and delicious treats, Paris is a heartthrob for the school going guy. Here statues, parks, galleries and museums galore to make it a must go family destination. Cool summer breeze and blowing flowers give your vacation in Paris the much needed touch of refreshment.
Must Visits: Disneyland, Eiffel Tower, Luxembourg Gardens, Natural History Museum, Louvre Museum, Notre Dame Cathedral.
Enamoured by all-pervading kid friendly culture, Barcelona pleads to be discovered by adults and kids alike. The colourful streets where street performers juggle swords and swallow fires are visual treats for little ones. The city is breathtaking and its parks lined with curving walls and endless mosaics leave a prominent footprint in a summer vacation expedition.
Must Visits: Museum of Chocolate; Tibidabo, an amusement park that hosts an old fashioned Ferris wheel; Mirador de Colom and La Rambla street.
Tucked between mountain peaks and crystal lakes, Geneva is a city for all seasons and all age groups. With temperature soaring across India, a trip to snow-clad pleasant Geneva can make this summer vacation a breathtaking one. Boat ride on Geneva Lake, ride on cogwheel railway, exploring castles and trailing along the Alps are some of those promising reasons for you to plan a summer trip to Geneva, Switzerland.
Must Visits: Aquaparc, Botanical Gardens, Geneva Lake and Jet d’Eau, world’s tallest fountain.
Forget the homework for some days, pick a destination you like, plan a trip and pack your bags. Let us welcome the much awaited summer vacation in the most thrilling way!
A good travel expedition is usually the result of something that has gone (terribly) wrong.“The human race has only one really effective weapon and that is laughter.”- Mark Twain
The “Huh oh” moments revolving around those local bill boards, Dhaba menu cards and many such weird things can make you chuckle, but you instantly know that these will make an excellent story for years to come!
Is that a Shower?
There are times when I enter the bathroom of a funky hotel and Woah! The mysterious technological shower awaits! I have no clue how to make this thing work. Believe me, I have actually been like “eh? What the hell odour will not kill anyone. Deodrant for today maybe”. If you are a OCD, travel will surely make you more laid back and appreciate times when things are not perfect or planned.
The Thai Massage or Torture Satan?
“Would you like a massage mister?!” It can destroy your dreams if an old lady comes up and says “ I think you need the full two hour”. The voice in my head mumbles Nooo! Just the one please (teeth screeching in terror). Beware on who you put your trust in. A relaxation massage turned into a Karate match against an old Thai lady. Who is going to be the winner?
Chased Down by Some Stalker (or Maybe a Cow!)
This one time on a trip to Varanasi I saw cows pop out of nowhere. There you are, sitting quietly in an auto with 5 folks and loving the streets and Bam! MOOOO! There she is with her entire mouth munching right at my face and her eyes staring at mine! I was scared to death I swear she could smell me 😛
Cows and I share the same MOO chemistry till today.
Funny Outrageous Pictures!
Everyone while travelling clicks dozens of such quirky, bizarre, outrageous, funny, absurd, ridiculous, truly off the chart moments.
I will let the picture do the talking. They are sure to bring a chuckle when you relive them.
I am Bear Grylls Adventure!
There comes a time when a man sitting at a boring desk job has a moment of enlightenment, a sudden calling “Maybe i Should Trek To the hills via the forest like that dude on National Geographic”. The next thing you know you are thirsty, sweaty and covered in insects, reptiles wondering ‘Damn you bear grills! You make it look like treat!’. Those near to death moments will give you the chills years later.
Local food or delicacies are most sought after things while on a trip. In a similar event of trying the local cuisine, a friend of mine learnt how to eat a rat! You read it correct ‘A Rat’! These bizarre ‘Huh, is that food?’ moments will bring lots of laughter, and bag full of ‘wow! that happened to me one time’ experiences in your travel kitty.
Take Back a Souvenir!
On every little venture of mine I try and bring something back ranging from antiques to scarves/hats to local treats. The time when you see a funky cigarette holder and think, huh, maybe I should smoke (kidding) so I have this uber cool piece.
The take-away from every place, even the smallest pendents or hats I get from a trip take me down the memory lane.
All these remind me what joy it is to travel! How much happiness it brings to me and maybe why I should plan something really soon.
The sleepy groggy eyes suffer from energy deficiency every Monday morning. Uff! The week is back and your boss is fully charged up. However, you feel that you simply need, or rather deserve to forsake the desktop and get your self-batteries recharged. The boss might chuckle over leave approval, but smart ones like you will surely find a tricky or more often than not, a silly work excuse that will rarely be turned down. While you will enjoy a vacation, he might think ‘Whatttt?’, ‘How Come’? Really?
Statutory Warning: Meant only for bosses with a good sense of humour. Don’t blame us if your ‘planned’ or ‘unplanned’ leaves do not get approved.
Guess I can play safe for 3-4 days and return back from a short and sweet trip.
After all, painful injections and regular check-ups always get their way. Isn’t it?
Sir, I can’t travel with a vomiting tendency.. Shhh! Am off for a vacation to the beaches.
Grrrr! I am planning (JUST) a 3 day bachelor party.
A brilliant excuse to take an off from attending your boss’s boring meetings. Haha!
Whoa! Let me keep my boss in a state of awe!
Oh, I guess its again time for my fake surgery excuse!
You must be thinking, What? However, try this out.
No one can dare to question if I play with this crazy excuse. Woo-hoo!
Ah! This is a great idea. Now I can travel for a week tension-free.
So folks, you think we have missed out something funnier/sillier than these? Try one of these if you’ve run out of the old ones. Do not forget to share the expressions of your boss with us! 😀
(With inputs from Debatree Saha)
Travelling is an activity that impresses people of almost all age groups and lets them enjoy quality time with family and friends. While most people take help and inspiration from social media; there are many who plan randomly. There are many choices and sources that inspire us to travel and explore. However, a recent research done by a U.S based organization shows that travelling, according to your age, can help you in making the most of your vacation.
Based on a research, we have drafted a travel itinerary, created the parameters for you to roam around, have endless fun and make some magical memories. Take a look.
Age Group: 18-30
The study says that travellers aged between 18 to 25 should take a trip to mountains. Trekking, mountain climbing and adventure activities can be included in your travel itinerary without a second thought. Triund, Mcleodganj, Chamoli, Kasauni, etc. are some of the top choices for trekking in India.
Age Group: 31-44
According to the research, people planning vacations during their age of 30-40 should head to the beaches. Whether you wish to take a sunbath or give yourself a rejuvenating break; the beaches of Goa, Kerala and Puri are the ideal choices.
Age Group: 45 +
People above the age of 45 are advised to take a break at peaceful and serene places. Spas, meditation centres and hotels with sauna and swimming pools, especially ones with infinity pools like Wildflower Shimla or Vivanta by Taj-Malabar, are perfect for all belonging to this age group. Book a suite soon and enjoy a relaxing break.
Age Group: 50 +
The ‘above 50’ years of people are usually free from all sorts of responsibilities and it’s the best time when they can take a joy ride across the world and have unlimited fun. London, Turkey and Paris can be added to the list. So, pack your bags and get going.
Age: No Bar
Well, this category is for those travellers who think age is just a number. If your body is 55 and your heart is still at 25, then you definitely go for an adventurous safari at the Ranthambore National Park, a refreshing road trip to Manali or a thrilling river rafting excursion in Rishikesh.
Vacation preferences may vary from individual to individual, but taking them according to age gives a unique experience. So, next time you are drafting a travel itinerary or planning a trip, visit the one that is perfect for your age. And if you aren’t much affected by the numbers of your age; go take that long pending break. After all, it’s your life, make it large!
“I think one travels more usefully when they travel alone, because they reflect more.” ~ Thomas Jefferson
Solo travelling indeed gives you the much needed time to ‘reflect more’ on your life. As women are always busy in making a balance between office work and household chores, they usually never think about taking out some ‘me’ time. So, it’s high time that all you women (read superwomen), start planning for your first solo trip! Because, what can be more amazing than coming back richer with new friends and interesting experiences to share? Still not convinced? Check out these 4 best travel movies and I bet after watching these, you’ll surely pack your bags to travel solo around the world. Read on.
1. Eat, Pray and Love (2010)
Based on the best-selling memoir of the same name by Elizabeth Gilbert, this Julia Roberts starrer movie takes you through the transformational journey of Elizabeth, from a painful divorce to a quest of self-discovery. In her travel, she finds happiness by eating in Italy, praying in India, and falling in love in Bali. Follow your heart, woman!
Interesting Fact: The ashram in India where Elizabeth Gilbert, the author, actually spent 4 months, was replaced in the movie by Hari Mandir Ashram of Pataudi, Haryana, as shooting was not allowed in the former.
2. Tracks (2013)
This movie is an adaptation of Robyn Davidson’s memoir of the same name, chronicling her 9 months journey across the Western Australian desert in 1977. She trekked 1700 miles, with four camels and her loyal dog. To go on a solo trip, that too in the 70’s is an incredible inspirational real life story. Isn’t it? So what you are waiting for?
Interesting Fact: Though the actual trek had taken place in Western Australia, the movie was shot predominantly in South Australia and the Northern Territory. Why? The real locations mentioned in Davidson’s memoir were often inaccessible and distant for cast and crew to travel.
3. Queen (2014)
Shot over a period of 45 days in Paris, Amsterdam and Delhi, you all know the plot of this movie. A simple Delhi girl from a traditional family, sets off for a solo honeymoon to Paris and Amsterdam after her fiancee calls off their marriage. This path breaking movie was commercially successful and the protagonist Kangana Ranuat won the ‘Best Actress’ trophy in both Filmfare Awards and National Film Awards. Queen shows how solo travelling can lead to a new perspective on life, and, above all, boost your self-confidence. So ladies, live your life on your own terms!
Interesting Fact: Remember the night club scene where the remixed version of Asha Bhonsle’s song Hungama Ho Gaya was played? This scene was pictured at a local club in Amsterdam called NL. The song was such a hit with the Dutch crew as well as the other guests that after the shoot, the club hosted its first ever Bollywood party, with the DJ spinning his own version of the song. This new version was used in the end credits of the film. Wow! That’s the magic of Bollywood songs!
4. Wild (2014)
A biographical drama film, starring Reese Witherspoon, Wild is based on Cheryl Strayed’s best-selling 2012 memoir of the same name. The protagonist decides to go for a solo hiking trip along 1,100 miles of the 2,650 mile Pacific Crest Trail, to heal herself after the devastating loss of her mother. Already read the book? Watch movie now.
Interesting Fact: The young Cheryl is portrayed by Bobbi Lindstrom, the real-life daughter of Cheryl Strayed. Also, the real Cheryl Strayed makes a cameo in the film. See, if you can identify her!
Have I missed any favourite travel film of yours? Feel free to name them in the comments section. In the meantime, women travellers get set for a path-breaking solo trip.
Second last week of March seems to be the most exciting one, isn’t it? Colourful Holi, Good Friday and the weekend following them! Hope you have already bracketed this L-O-O-O-N-G weekend in your office calender. If not, do it now! Pause for a moment, think for a while and imagine that four precious days are knocking at the door. Why to waste it, especially when weather is perfect for a vacation? Ummm! Not sure where to go? Wait! We have some recommendations for you, which are perfect to travel in the upcoming long weekend and that too under a budget of Rs. 5000. Yayyyy!
Chikmagalur near Bangalore
From trekking trails to coffee plantations, from waterfalls to temples, from wildlife to interesting locals, Chikmagalur has everything for everyone. Nothing can beat the fun of golfing amid green landscape, pleasure of walking around aromatic coffee plantations and joy of trekking to Kalahasti Falls. UNESCO World Heritage sites like Shravanabelagola, Halebidu and Belur temples on the way to Chikmagalur are places to leave your footprints too.
Distance from Bangalore: 250 km approximately
Mode of transport: Ordinary and Volvo buses (fares start from Rs. 250 one way for a non AC seater bus)
Accommodation: As low as Rs. 811 per night
Suggested days of stay: 2nights/3days
Total trip cost: Under Rs. 5000
McLeodganj near Delhi
Cheap bus ride, affordable hotels and pocket friendly food stalls, McLeodganj is the most affordable hill station near Delhi for a peaceful holiday during the Holi Good Friday long weekend. Every attraction in McLeodganj is just a walk away. So be there, visit the Dalami Lama Ashram, take a trek to Triund, camp overnight and relish the home-style Himachali and Tibetan meals, desserts, tempting coffee and affordable liquor and end your short trip on a sweet note. Book your stay!
Distance from Delhi: 478 km approximately
Mode of transport: Private and government Volvo buses (fares start from Rs.700 one way)
Accommodation: As low as Rs. 880 per night. Basic home-stays are available at cheap rates
Suggested days of stay: 3nights/4days
Total trip cost: Under Rs. 5000
Matheran near Mumbai
A popular weekend getaway for Mumbaikars, the cool unruffled hill station of Matheran gives respite from hustle bustle of the city. The no-vehicles hill station makes way for horse rides and transports one to dreamy imaginations of bygone era. From peace to green landscape, from romance to fresh air, Matheran leaves one spoiled for choices at an affordable cost. The toy train ride from Neral station to Matheran is a journey to remember forever!
Distance from Mumbai: 126 km approximately by train 83 km approximately via Sion-Panvel Highway
Mode of transport: Train along with state transport buses that ply between Mumbai and Pune. Train fare is Rs. 260 per person one way
Accommodation: As low as Rs. 1,999 per night
Suggested days of stay: 2nights/3days
Total trip cost: Under Rs. 5000
Darjeeling near Kolkata
A vacation near Kolkata time and again reminds of Darjeeling, the sole hill station of West Bengal. The coming Holi Good Friday long weekend is the best time to plan a trip to the beautiful ‘land of Gorkhas’. Impressive Kanchunjenga mountains, Himalayan toy train, aromatic tea gardens and bundle of historical landmarks, Darjeeling is a paradise for mountain lovers. Take a trip to this paradise in an unbelievably low budget. Book now!
Distance from Kolkata: 570 km approximately by train and 632 km via NH 34
Mode of transport: Trains till New Jalpaiguri (minimum fare around Rs. 320 per person one way) and buses till Siliguri (fare starts from Rs.500 per person per way). Local taxis and buses are available from Siliguri and New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling
Accommodation: As low as Rs. 1,100 per night
Suggested days of stay: 3nights/4days
Total trip cost: Under Rs. 5000
Khajuraho near Bhopal
Conjured by images and structures of timeless beauty and serenity, Khajoraho is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is just perfect for a weekend getaway near Bhopal. A land of countless Hindu temples, historic sculptures and artistic carving along with the best kept Panna National Park, Khajuraho can be explored in a pocket friendly budget. Reserve the Holi Good Friday long weekend for a historic trip to Khajuraho.
Distance from Bhopal: 308 km approximately by road from Bhopal
Mode of transport: Regular bus service between Bhopal and Khajuraho
Accommodation: As low as Rs. 600 per night
Suggested days of stay: 2nights/3days
Total trip cost: Under Rs. 5000
Gear up folks! Ditch the pocket pinch and get set for a splashing and vibrant Holi this time.
Attention workaholics! It is time you all say ‘hello’ to sabbatical (a specified time away from work, usually unpaid).
Do you ever count the hours you put to business weekly? Do you ever count the times you attend a business meeting? I guess you don’t. Aww! It is next to impossible. Anyway, are you one of those who wishes to break all barriers, skip daily job routine and head for a holiday? If so, then stop thinking and apply for a sabbatical. All you need to do is, convince your boss and get him some goodies while you return. And you are set for an ‘out of the world’ break, a break that will make you travel around the world, explore the colourful landscape, appreciate the artificial marvels, taste local cuisines and bring you back with a bag of new experiences. Be it months or year, a sabbatical can do wonders. Here is why:
Break the 9-5 Job Routine
You spend the entire week coding or publishing news? When you are bogged down, your mind just needs to wander. Stop dragging and take a break. Only a sabbatical can help you come out from the clumsy work-stuffed world and give a chance to breathe the fresh air, walk through wet grass or wake up to the sunrise over mountains. A new life awaits for you dearie!
A sabbatical is the best medicine for a stressed out mind. Not only does your body and mind get the rest it needs, but also you become more enthusiastic, refreshed and rejuvenated. The joy of travelling and the ‘partial break-up’ with official mails help meditate, relax and get boost up with positive energies of the world.
Find Your Passion
The busy office schedule might not permit to find your passion, but travel does. Give it a try, sit under the open sky, look around the landscape and think what you love, what you are born for. Who knows that you might return back only to discover that your only passion is travel?
Fall in Love with Yourself
It is you who should love yourself the most and rest of the world will follow. Time off, break from work, a long holiday, adventure games, new people and different culture.. everything make you happy. And at the end you will love yourself all the more, because it is only about ‘me time’. Not bad right?
You Get More Creative
A fresh mind brings new ideas and improves creativity. But this is possible only when you take a break from job and head for a long pending vacation. New place, new people and new culture are instigators to your creative trait.
Make New Friends
Life is short and better not stay alone. You might have a bunch of friends in office and neighbourhood, but what about making some new? Travel helps you come across lots of interesting people from varied cultures and communities. Some can even get their ‘friends forever’ and an all new Friendship Day might be just the next party you prepare for.
Explore the World
Holidaying for a long period across different cities and countries is the best way to know the world. From architectural edifices to natural wonders, from religious diversity to cultural milieu, the world has so much to explore. From man to wildlife, you get to interact with all. So why sit back and slog over the computer? Apply for a sabbatical and you will have bagful of stories to cherish forever.
A Guaranteed Job when You Come Back
If you have taken a sabbatical from the ongoing job, then why worry? Your boss would love to get you back with a refreshed mind and body and definitely, bundle of new experiences to share with him.
Age is on Your Side
Work made you wiser than teenage self and by now you must have learned a bit of the big world. Luggage packing, sitting by the train window, learning local language and photographing the landscape, all will take you through the best phases of life. You are young so it is good to add some adventure too. I am sure you will appreciate these rather than repenting later on.
No Regrets at the End
Your feet is what takes you to the corners of the globe. Everything has its time and when you grow old, I promise you will never regret for the sabbatical you took for a leisurely vacation amid the wild, far off in the mountains, by the serene seaside or in a historic city.
Gift yourself a mini-retirement. A doctor might not prescribe a holiday, but the cure it gives, is way beyond scientific drugs. Set off! Get out! Wander! Enjoy! This is the time!
It is rightly said that Kolkata has life. Even a new comer here will fall in love with the city’s crazy mob, over-crowded streets and howling hawkers. The best way to indulge in an entertaining journey across the city is to board a public bus. Don’t worry, here the bus conductor will himself come and ask for tickets, the driver will wait until you de-board and walk to the other side of the street and your co-passenger will be fair enough to inform where he/she is getting down, so that you can grab the same seat. But what makes it funny to travel in a humidity and sweating-mob packed bus in Kolkata? All thanks to its conductor, driver and co-passengers who are known for the funny things you can’t avoid to hear during a bus ride in the ‘City of Joy’. Scroll below:
Aaste ladies kole baccha! (Slow down, lady boarding with a child)
This phrase is just epic! Whoever has travelled by a public bus in Kolkata, must have heard the conductors shouting out to drivers ‘Aaste ladies kole baccha‘ for women boarding or de-boarding the bus with kids.
Baye jaa..baye jaa..kaata kaataaa.. (Go left, overtake)
Though he is just asking the driver to go left and overtake, but, his typical tone and number of times he repeat the phrase with full enthusiasm makes it unforgettable and amusing.
Dicchi toh…Ekdom last’e nambo! (Just wait! I will get down at the last stop)
Haha! Now this comes from the mouth of passengers when conductors come to ask for tickets. Almost 70% of the laid back passengers ask conductors to come back for tickets later on and return them back with the most hilarious reply ‘Dicchi toh…Ekdom last’e nambo’.
Golpark, Gariahat, Ballygunje… or else Maidan, Esplanade, Howrah.. Howrah..
As soon as the bus stops (irrespective of it being a bus stand), they would scream out these names with full energy to call in more and more passengers.
Aree chol na re bhai.. Driver ichche kore signal khachche. (Drive drive.. the driver is deliberately halting at every signal)
You will hear this chorus of agitated passengers, especially if you board a bus during peak hours or continuously get stuck in traffic jam.
Khali gari… khali gari.. (empty bus)
There might not be a place to sit, but you will hear the conductor scream ‘Khali gari, khali gari’. Something which is ‘filled up’ for us, is ‘khali‘ (empty) for conductors and drivers. Don’t worry! The driver has enough time to wait for the bus to turn ‘bhorti‘ (filled up).
Cholun.. Pechone egiye cholun.. (Move back, move back!)
I am sure you won’t find an inch space to step inside, but the conductor will relentlessly scream and make sure you move back and make way for more passengers to get and fit in.
100, 500 takar khuchra chahiya lojja diben na! (Don’t make us feel ashamed by asking for Rs. 100 or 500 change)
Now this is a hilarious phrase written in bold inside every bus in Kolkata. Irritating this might sound, but you have to seek ‘special permission‘ from conductors to purchase a ticket if you do not have ‘khujro‘ (change) and have only Rs. 100 or Rs. 500 note.
Ki holo? Chepe daran! (What happened? Move aside and stand)
Gentlemen, be aware of women shouting out at you, ‘Ki holo? Chepe daran‘ if you lean towards them, even by mistake.
After all, Indians are known for their humour level, and people of Kolkata is one of its vibrant examples. Have you heard any of these in Kolkata? Want to add something more hilarious? Please feel free to share with us.
Well, we just celebrated the 17th anniversary of International Mother Language Day on February 21. However, we might not know the native language of every Indian state. Never mind, we are here to guide you with! After all, ‘travelling like a local’ is the best way to explore an unknown land and fall in love with its local culture. To ensure you a comfortable holiday and definitely, a safe trip, we have listed some frequently spoken local phrases in Indian metros.
The ‘City of Dreams’ is a hot favourite of everyone. Here you must gain expertise to adjust yourself in a over crowded local train and to relish the taste of ‘vada pao‘ and ‘misel pao‘. Do remember that Hindi in Mumbai is not the regular one. Mumbaikars love to hear Marathi. So, stay cool and approach them by saying ‘Kya boltaay boss’ or ‘Kya bolttaay bhidu’ (meaning ‘what’s up dude?’).
Ahh!! The city of rosogolla (sweet made of cottage cheese and soaked in sugar syrup) and macher jhol (fish curry) gives a warm welcome to all. Even if it is your first visit, a Bangali babu would love to invite you for lunch or dinner and serve Bhetki Macher Paturi (baked fish covered with banana leaf) or Ilish Maacher jhal (hilsa curry). Don’t hesitate! Just step in and say ‘Kemon acho?’ (how are you?). With a smiling face he will surely reply ‘ami bhalo achi’ (I am fine).
Confused how to interact with locals in the Tamil capital, Chennai? Rather than considering yourself to be an alien, learn the state’s native language or some local dialects like ‘Nalla Irikiringala?’ (Are you well?) or ‘vannakkam’ (meaning greet or namaskaar). I am sure you are going to have a pleasant stay in the cultural capital of Tamil Nadu!
In our capital, every male is greeted as ‘bhaiya’ (brother). Delhi is speckled with historical remains, glorious past and thereby, worthy of travel. While Delhi gives a friendly happy-go-lucky feel, knowing some basic Hindi phrases like ‘Aapka swagat hai’ (you are welcome), ‘phir milte hai’ (see you later), ‘namaste aunty/unchle/bhaiya’ (hello sir/madam/brother) help to interact with locals and get acquainted with local culture.
Don’t get disheartened with the style of Hindi or English you hear from locals here. Bangalore is full of life and here every tourist is treated like God. To travel like a local in Bangalore, you might get to learn a bit of Kannada like ‘inda bandēni’ (I am from …). Wait! There is another way too! Simply learn to say ‘Kannada Gotilla’ (I don’t know Kannada.), and people will guide you towards the right path.
Like all other north-eastern states, Assam boasts of a peaceful environment coupled with abundant natural beauty. While in Assam, you cannot deny to fall in love with its slow moving life. Knowing its native language like ‘Aapunaak loge pai bhaal lagil’ (Pleased to meet you) or ‘Aponar Bhalne?’ (How do you do?) will let end up making friendship with locals. While returning bring along the traditional gamusa (cotton towel) as a token of memory.
We wish you a pleasant trip!
Well, I am a foodie by heart! Be it a regional cuisine or a hot-pick Asian delight, my love for food knows no bounds. Staying in Delhi, the land of Mughals, I have had enough of Mughlai Chicken, Awadhi Biriyani and Lucknawi kebabs. I therefore decided to taste state flavours and local spices, India is known for. Hence began my gastronomic tour to regional restaurants in Delhi. Trust me, they all are fantabulous- be it the food or traditional décor. According to me, some of those best restaurants in Delhi are:
City of Joy, Alaknanda-A Chic Bong Flavour
Take out your old pair of jeans, Kolhapuri sandals and head to relish a perfect ‘Bangali’ lunch/dinner brought from the kitchens of Bengal. Catering to a wide menu of Bengali fish recipes, vegetarian dishes and local sweets, this elegant restaurant has touched the heart of numerous Bengalis and non- Bengalis. Try the mutton and chicken dishes too to savour flavours of herbs and spices from Bengal. The restaurant’s Bengali terracotta chandeliers and cane furniture paint the image of a chic Bong household. So, in City of Joy, feel like a Bong, eat like a Bong!
Where: Aravali Shopping Complex, Alaknanda, South Delhi
Must Try: Prawn Malai Curry, Doi Pomfret, Shukto, Kosha Mangsho (Mutton), Fulko Luchi
Cost for Two: Rs. 800
Rosang Soul Food-For the North Eastern Bamboo-shoot Pleasure
They are humble! They are experts of local flavours! Yes, this small calm cosy restaurant in Green Park takes you for a real date with North East India. Chefs and waiters come all their way from various North-eastern states to prepare and serve hearty home-style regional dishes. While the food won’t leave you supersaturated by oil and spices, it will leave you satiated with taste and quantity. Warm service and chat with cheerful staff make for an unforgettable dining experience.
Where: Green Park, near Uphaar Cinema
Cuisine: Assamese, Naga, Sikkim, Arunachal, Tripura
Must Try: Nghui Ngosing, Masor Logot Khorisa, Tokhan, Wild Red rice tea
Cost for Two: Rs. 1000
Yeti, The Himalayan Kitchen-A Fusion of Pahari Spice and Tradition
Not much places in Delhi offer Nepalese, Tibetan, Bhutanese or Himalayan cuisines. This chic, elegant restaurant in Hauz Khas Village and GK 2 is one of those few places where the not-so-popular food menu tantalize your taste buds with a fine taste of sweet and spice used in the local kitchens of Himachal. Brick walls decorated with Himalayan antics, Tibetan masks, Buddhist prayer flags and art- the restaurant’s ambience is worth appreciation!
Where: Greater Kailash 2, Hauz Khas Village
Cuisine: Tibetan, Nepalese, Bhutanese, Himachali
Must Try: Bhutun, Shapta, Mutton dumplings and Chow Chow
Cost for Two: Rs. 1,100
Naivedyam-Quest for Dosa Ends Here
In this land of kebabs and qormas, Naivedyam, an authentic South Indian restaurant does complete justice to the vegetarian fare. Stuffed with dishes (sweet and tangy) brought from kitchens of the south, Naivedyam is one stop destination for a fine vegetarian meal. Soft background music, antique furniture and paintings of gods and goddesses make your dining experience a pleasant one.
Where: Various places across NCR
Cuisine: South India
Must Try: Rawa Dosa, Lemon Rice, Curd Rice, Vegetable Oothappam and yes! Filter Coffee
Cost for Two: Rs. 600
Viva o Viva-Where Crabs from Goa Let Tongue Go Crazy
Haven’t tasted seafood in Delhi? Want to eat something unconventional? Drive to Viva o Viva in Goa Niwas, Chanakyapuri. Goa and seafood goes hand in hand and this restaurant leave you spellbound with Goan flavours that come in the form of crab and prawn platters. Fish cooked with local herbs and vegetarian delights typical to the state are apt for foodaholics in search of an offbeat dining experience.
Where: Goa Niwas, Chanakyapuri
Must Try: Pomfret curry with pav, King Fish Masala, Butter Garlic Crab
Cost for Two: Rs. 700
The Potbelly Rooftop Cafe-For Bihar’s Heart-melting Litti Choka
Narrow alleys, quaint locality and steep winding stairs- and you land in Potbelly, a rooftop restaurant serving the flavours of Bihar. Plain yet colourful sitting areas, vibrant and chic yet homely interior and an overall aesthetic set up juxtaposed with delicious Bihari food is something rarely experienced in the bustling city of Delhi.
Where: Shahpur Jat
Must Try: Litti Choka, Meat Pakora Basket, Khada Masala Mutton, Champaran Style Mutton, Sarso Machhli
Cost for two: Rs. 1000
SodaBottleOpenerWala–The real World Irani Cafe
Your craving for Parsi food ends here! A kitschy colourful café type restaurant replete with pool table, red checked table cloths from the time of nuns and cuckoo clock take you along a trail of Parsi culture. Cutleries like typical chai wala glasses, kettle and aluminium tiffin carriers, are what stands apart. And the menu card? Ah! The layout and name of dishes- both are superb. Heard of Khade Chammach ki Chai? Rest of the dishes are free if you can drink this one!
Where: Khan Market, Delhi and DLF Cyber Hub, Gurgaon
Must Try: Bhendi Bazaar Sheekh Parantha, Berry Pulao, Bacon Keema Macaroni, Prawn Patio, Ginger Biscuit
Cost for two: Rs. 1200
Karims–From the Kitchens of Mughals
Now this is one restaurant that every Delhite and non-Delhite will love to visit repeatedly. If you are a meat lover, then Karim’s is your ‘Mecca in Delhi’. Be it a family dinner or a food date with fiancée, dining in Karim’s is apt for all. Aroma of steaming nahari, taste of butter naan and a normal dining set up has attracted foodies since years. Don’t mind if you have to a share table. Just concentrate on that juicy tandoori chicken!
Where: Many places across NCR, Karim’s Jama Masjid is the main branch
Cuisine: Mughlai, North Indian
Must Try: Mutton Qorma, Mutton Nahari, Paya, Qeema Naan
Cost for Two: Rs. 800
February is the month of love and celebration. So why not plan a visit in one of these soon? Hold on! Do visit again and share your experience with us.
Tucked between rugged hills and besieged walls and speckled with traditional erstwhile monuments, Jaipur boasts of fairy-tale grandeur. However, apart from its majestic forts and royal havelis, it has more stories to unfold. Along with its impressive architecture, Jaipur is a striking name for foodies too. Elaborate meals served on huge impressive thalis and typical Rajasthani food churned in royal kitchens illustrate indigenous traditions typical to the state. On my visit to Jaipur on New Year, this is what I discovered. Its food angle is worth experiencing and appreciating. My 48 hours trip was an epicurean tour with my friend that took me from old traditional restaurants to modern cafés. Come, let’s live those memories for a while.
Ahh! Jaipur and Chokhi Dhani is inseparable! Nestled around 21 km away from city centre, this ethnic village captures the vibrant spirit of Rajasthan. Food is an integral part of Chokhi Dhani and dining over majestic thalis is a lifetime experience. My platter had Bajre ki Roti with dollops of butter, Chawal, Daal, Gatte ka Sabzi, Bajra Khichda, Kadhi, Lehsan ka Achar, Dhaniya Chutney, Salad, Roasted Papad, Moon Dal Halwa and Bati Choorma. Golgappas and hot milk on earthenware glasses were also available in food stalls. My tummy was super-saturated! We had chosen the Traditional Rajasthani Dining Hall, but options like AC Royal Rajasthani Dining and Multi-cuisine Buffet Dinner can be tried too.
Laxmi Misthan Bhandar
To be frank, reaching there from MI Road was difficult. We drove past narrow alleys, old lanes and distant hills to reach the age-old sweet shop cum restaurant in Johari Bazaar. The doorman with his long moustache made way to an over-crowded sweet shop. Huh!! How can I forget it was 1st January? After waiting for long, we managed to get a seat and ordered Daal Bati Churma, Sweet Lassi and Virgin Mojito. After all, LMB is known for its authentic Daal Bati Churma cooked with heaps of desi ghee. It tasted heavenly and the lassi was an icing on the cake. Pack along Rajasthani specialities like ghewars, milk cake, and definitely, Payaz Kachori.
Rawat Misthan Bhandar
Very close to Sindhi Camp Bus Stand on Station Road, Rawat Misthan Bhandar is the only choice for food lovers like me. And being a tourist, how can I miss their lip-smacking Payaz (onion) Kachodi. Thanks to our auto-wale bhaiya for introducing us to Rawat. The crunchy golden Dal and Onion kachoris stuffed with lentils and onions taste delectable when consumed hot. Treat your tongue with Rawat ka Kachori before bidding adieu to Jaipur, just like me.
The rooftop restaurant near Vidhakpuri Police Station will initially surprise you with its scenic setting, graceful ambience and astonishing views of the surrounding. My platter had only Laal Maas (traditional spicy lamb curry) and tawa roti, because Peacock is famous for this Rajasthani non-vegetarian delicacy. Like all, I too had to wait to get a seat. Apart from the taste of the food, its decent pricing surprised me too. If you are a meat lover like me, do visit the Peacock Restaurant for its authentic Laal Maas.
If you favour Italian and Chinese, then also Jaipur is ideal for you. Here are two of my favourite picks:
The Chocolate Room
Me and my friend, both were aliens to Jaipur, but food is what we died for. While exploring the newly opened World Trade Park at Malviya Nagar, Jaipur, we had to stop at The Chocolate Room. The small aesthetically decorated Italian Café (not to mention 100% veg) at the food court spread aroma of fresh cakes, sizzling pastas, pizzas, pancakes, toasts, coffees, smoothies and more. We started with sipping the delicious smoothies- yogola mix and very berry and gradually shifted to Mediterranean Pasta. Well, if you ask about price, I would say, ‘be ready to feel a bit of pinch in your pocket’. Nevertheless, getting hold of an authentic Italian café in Jaipur is not an easy affair. Give it a try!
The in-house restaurant of Golden Tulip hotel (where I stayed) at MI Road is a haven for food-lovers. Not to forget is its widespread buffet breakfast that offers American delicacies to Indian favourites like Aalo Parantha, Poori sabzi, Idli, Uttapam, Daal Pakoda and lots more. Marigold too expertise in Laal Maas. Thanks to the chef for making our New Year dinner a gourmet affair, one with Schezwan Salt and Pepper Chicken and veg Hakka Noodles.
They all looked royal and tasted yum! In fact, the trip is to be remembered more for our culinary experience. You too can plan one soon!