Holiday homes in and around Maharashtra

Who wants to share a floor with dozens of other people when one can book a bungalow to themselves? Here are some of the wonderful options to rent out for your next holiday.

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Tribes of the Northeast

It’s a lovely day. Would you like to watch us sacrifice a pig?” I was in Arunachal Pradesh, in a village 300 km from China and being cordially invited to witness a very graphic part of human history, ceremonial animal slaughter. It wasn’t on my itinerary. Neither was the temperature of 5 degrees C, since places in the northeast are not as easily researched on the internet.

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Less explored must visit destinations in 2014

With New Year kicking in here is a list of completely offbeat, less explored destinations that must be on your list to visit in 2014!

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Best roadtrip movies from Bollywood

There is a different world altogether behind that glowing screen. One full of shine, coincidences, pretty faces, incredible experiences, slow motion walks and happily-ever-after(s). And that's the reason we go to the movies, to get out of our world for a while, to get into that parallel world, to immerse our senses in a maze of exaggerated canvases, to escape from our routine lives. Movies themselves are a road trip into the unknown, unseen and the unexpected.

Be it the glorious Bombay to Goa drive from the movie Dil Chahta Hai or Barfi and Jhilmil's incredibly beautiful trip from Darjeeling to Kolkata, we have all been on short whimsical wayward journeys right from the comfort of our couch. While these movies had short on-the-road sections, we have compiled below a list of movies from Bollywood that actually took it a step further and made the road a character in the movie making it interact, teach and learn from our celluloid stars.

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Kronicles of Kapu

It is days like these that make me feel invincible, that make it possible to believe in eternity.. to crave immortality.

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Slice of Bliss

Rarely is hype understated. I could think of many an occasion when I’d heard about a book, watched an eagerly anticipated movie or participated in a well marketed conference only to emerge feeling a bit let down. And yet, I hotly anticipated my visit to Gurudongmar, an emerald lake held along its flanks by the gargantuan Himalayan mountain ranges in Sikkim, at a staggering 18000 ft.

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Let’s Czech Prague out!

As Easter weekend was approaching my roommate and me, we realised that we had nothing planned for the long weekend. I don't remember how, but the idea of going to Prague came up.

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A day with Udaybhai

As much as we like to believe we don’t go by stereotypes, there is a certain personality that comes to mind when you hear the word rickshawalla, especially if you are a Mumbaikar: mostly brusque, often unwilling to ferry you to your destination, annoying you with unnecessary questions and evoking a response of utter surprise when they are in the least bit helpful.

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Reporting from Kashmir

I landed in Srinagar and began, almost on cue, my search for the beauty forever shown in Indian cinema, or at least in the movies of yester-years.

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Ganpatiphule - Jewel of the Konkan

Lord Parshuram, the sixth incarnation of Vishnu, is believed to be the creator of this beautiful strip of land known as the Konkan. It is believed that Lord Parshuram used his arrow to push back the sea to create this beautiful land that encompasses Raigad in Maharashtra and also the Malabar Coast of Kerala and boasts of some of the best beaches in the world. Some of the famed beaches of the Konkan region, apart from those in Goa and Kerala, are in Maharashtra.

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Agham – 0 km

“Nubra kahan hai?”
(Where is Nubra?)

“Chalees kilometer se Nubra hi chal raha hai.”
(For the last 40 kms, you've been in Nubra)

We were eight friends traveling around Ladakh. Four of us, the more adventurous ones, decided to take on the Ladakh-ian roads on bullets. The others took a Scorpio. We were going to Nubra Valley.

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Adventures in Abyssinia

A few years ago I travelled across Ethiopia, for no other reason than I could. Over a decade later It still remains one of the most visually and culturally captivating places I have ever seen.

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Viet (See-) Food

I am fairly certain I’ve ingested both chicken and beef over the last few days. For a vegetarian, this is not optimal. The first incident transpired at lunch in Hoi An where I ordered noodle soup and tried to signal “no meat” to the server. By ‘signal’ I mean make an ‘X’ with my arms and verbally stress the word ‘meat.’ Alas, when the soup came a generous slice of chicken was resting right on top of the bowl. I motioned to the sweet older woman who had brought me the dish, pointed to the chicken and said, "Do you have anything with no meat?"

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Coffee, Coorg and Me

As I rolled down my window for the first time heading towards Coorg, the smell of wet earth assailed my senses. The cicadas were chirping away merrily creating a beautiful and intimidating cacophony. And you know you are in a forest when all you see for miles are towering trees, electric fencing and uprooted trees, telling you that yes, you are in elephant country.

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Out of the Blue

I held my breath as a large manta ray glided through the water. Strange and alien-like, its mouth was open wide as it headed straight towards me. In one smooth movement, it curved to the right, its fin narrowly missing my head. It then executed two perfect somersaults underwater, before moving to join the rest of the group. I adjusted my mask and took a deep breath through my scuba regulator as I surveyed the scene around me.

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Single in Scotland

He neatly wrapped the red and green tweed skirt around his waist, straightened his collar and wore his shiny, black aviators. He looked at all of us with an inescapable flamboyance and ushered us inside the stylish and comfy mini bus. At first, the thought of travelling the length and breadth of the Scottish highlands with a man in a kilt seemed a bit uncomfortable but Kenny, our handsome Scottish guide cum driver said, “The pride and power of Scots lies in their kilt”. He was right as his kilt added a distinct character to my whole trip. Even in his fifties, Kenny had the zeal of a young 20 year old and this enthusiasm of his made my journey so much more special.

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Mesmerizing Meghalaya

The call of the unknown land is exciting and however much you prepare by reading on the net, experiencing it is an out of the world feeling. This trip though planned with Tawang in mind somehow veered to Shillong, Cherapunjee and Mawlynnlong, one of the cleanest village in India. For one who loves Nature this is an action packed thriller. Even before you begin you read of Flash strikes and Maoist activities but fortunately we had thrilling experiences of all other sorts.

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Ladakh - The Roof of the World

The road to Pangong lake is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. It’s a five or six hour drive from the city of Leh, an absolutely spellbinding journey.

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Kabini Chronicles

Even for a foodie like me, lunch had been a bit too extensive; or may be expansive is the right word. Just when I thought we were done, the smiling waiters brought in yet one more course. After this ‘foodorgy’, I was contemplating whether to lounge on a deck chair in the garden and pretend to read a book in the balmy wind blowing in from the Kabini river or give up all pretence and just take a nap. I must have drifted off while trying to make such a difficult decision when there was a knock on the door. Another smiling face. This time it was the resort’s driver. “Madam, its three o’clock and we are leaving for the safari in thirty minutes”.

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Once upon a time in Andalusia

I came. I saw. I fell in love.
With Granada.

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Far and Away: A Passage Into the Himalayas

I boarded the bus at 6 A.M. with 50 others, all destined for Rekong Peo and the Sangla Valley. The following 12 hours wound the bus into foothills filled with orchards and terraced farmsteads. As the late afternoon approached the locals on the bus transformed from women and children to drunken road and power plant workers, and I couldn’t help but yelp out with laughter as the man beside me drooled on my shoulder. I got off in a small, quiet village in Sangla Valley to watch the sun leave the sky.

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An unfinished sketch

I travel to find newness in myself through new places. I travelled to Istanbul to cure the blindness of familiarity caking around me like everyday weed that could break in the way sunlight breaches new boundaries.

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Snowy Whites and the Northern Lights

Imagine a drive through the western ghats after the first few rains of the year... Now replace the carpet of lush green with miles and miles of powder white snow - across valleys, atop mountains and even on trees. Trees: not the voluminous greens of the Deccan but leafless, lifeless ones. Lastly, give the water bodies a shade of deeper blue and a touch of gray and top them with chunks of floating ice. That is how a drive through the majestic Lyngen alps of northern Norway is like - breathtaking, awe-inspiring and below freezing!

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Amazing Bollywood film locations you can stay at!

Have you ever gasped looking at the exotic locales in Bollywood movies and wished that you could take off, explore those locations and stay in the same house or palace? Well, now you can.

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"Are we there yet?"- A Himalayan Sojourn

This trip to the Gangotri glacier was filled with unexpected turns and sights, from a cab driver that made it his life’s mission to overtake everything on a narrow road hundreds of feet above the Ganges, to understanding the significance of a walking stick while treading through a rocky trek towards Tapovan. Accompanied by my best friend, we set out to “conquer the Himalayas”…. at least that’s what we told everyone.

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10 haunted places in India you must visit!

Haunted /hôntid/ - inhabited or frequented by ghosts.

A fascination with the supernatural drives some people to travel in search of the paranormal. Behind many a famous landmark is a great ghost story and here we've listed out some really brilliant ones that are strongly believed by many.

If you're a fan of the unusual, the spiritual and the paranormal, this one's for you!

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Maharashtra's Best: Secret Beaches

Maharashtra's coast offers some really fantastic beaches, far away from the maddening crowd! One can choose to relax and do nothing or enjoy activities like snorkeling, explore local temples and forts, savor authentic coastal food, bird-watching..and much more!

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Top 5 unexplored beaches in India

When popular beaches in India are dotted with tourists everywhere, it makes sense to flee to a place where you will find what you're actually looking for in a beach holiday - isolation and tranquility.

Unfortunately, not everyone knows where to find these patches of sandy paradise. Here's a collection of the 5 unexplored beaches to relax under the cool shade of palm trees and, well, do nothing for a change!

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8 amazing music festivals for travelers in India

Go to beautiful locations, watch popular and upcoming artists perform live, listen to great music, meet like-minded music lovers and enjoy the crazy vibe. If music is your god, then for the love of god…travel!

(Note: The festivals listed are not ranked and are in random order)

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9 amazing forest adventures in India!

India boasts of a charming wildlife zone and many visitors come to the country wanting to see the tiger. Winter months approach the country and it is truly the best time to cherish an adventurous holiday in the wild with your family!

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Most luxurious boutique hotels in india!

Super luxurious boutique hotels, spectacular locations, incredible hospitality and mind blowing prices!

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Maha Kumbh 2013 | Allahabad

The largest human gathering in history for one cause on a single day, irrespective of any worldy barriers of caste, creed, colour and religion, is the grand spectacle of faith,The Maha Kumbh.

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5 Great American National Parks

Many people considering travel to the United States have in mind major city destinations like the Big Apple (aka New York), Las Vegas, San Francisco and so forth; with little knowledge that America has a wealth of national parks with diverse natural beauty that normally takes a backseat position when compared to America's developed cities, digital prowess and scandalous Hollywood elite.

On your next trip, discover a different side of America by checking out some of its great national parks.

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Fishing holidays in India

'For others there's Yoga, for us, it's fishing!'

Angling or Sport Fishing is one of the oldest sports enjoyed by many and is really catching on in India. For some, it is the solitary nature of fishing that makes fishing more alluring and for others, it is the tug of war and the sight of the struggle that a fish puts up when it's intelligence is being outwitted gives them a high!

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Best Tree House resorts in India!

Literally in the midst of nature, many feet above the ground, these tree houses are perfect for an intimate romantic getaway for lovers or a wonderful holiday idea for family bonding. Some offer extreme luxury and some a more rustic experience for adventure seekers.

Go ahead, experience the thrill, its on the house!

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Where on earth is the art in Paris?

What are the first few things that spring to mind when you hear ‘Paris’? Art, wine, art, fashion, art, cuisine, art, The Eiffel Tower, art, poodles, art…’art’ seems to pop up pretty often, doesn’t it? Even if you did choose to intentionally leave the word ‘art’ out of the list, everything else on it has to do with art in some way or the other. Wine, fashion, cuisine, The Eiffel Tower, poodles and a whole lot more in Paris, have one thing in common: art.

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Amritsar Food Trail

Where on earth is Cholesterol Chowk?

Where on earth do you get the creamiest, makhan fish?
Where do you get the most tender mutton tikkas?
Where can you find the most heavenly dal-kulchas?

Amritsar, the city of Golden Temple is famous for its cuisine.
It’s a spiritual journey of faith and of good food; a journey you must do in all its glory and grandeur.

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The ‘Unexplored’ Islands

You might think I would refer to some tiny dot on the world map around the Bahamas, Falkland, Africa or much closer to home around the Andamans or Thailand. Remember stories on the great swims and ‘conquering’ seas across the English Channel? Welcome to Guernsey and Herm, the Channel Islands.

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Literally off the beaten path in Hong Kong!

Hong Kong was my home for three years. I fell in love with the city instantly and even though it has been 10 years since I left it, I took a little of Hong Kong with me back home.

Most visitors come to Hong Kong and do a few of the touristy stuff and come back feeling amazed at its vibrancy. But there is a slow and gentle side to Hong Kong that few venture out to discover.

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The best luxury trains in India!

Many say, visiting India aboard one of its fantastic luxury trains is an experience of a lifetime, and probably one of the best ways to see the riches of the country.

Here's a list of the best luxury trains that take you on an incredible journey that blends the grandeur of its interiors and service with the most beautiful destinations in India!

Images courtesy: Websites of the respective luxury trains

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Bringing God home

We were witness to a special event in the beautiful village of Shoja, Himachal Pradesh. A local deity was brought home from the temple to bless the home and cattle of a villager, followed by an entire night of celebration.

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Best surf spots in India!

Here’s a little trivia: The word 'surf' was derived from the Indian word 'suffe' meaning the coastline. This word was picked up by Portuguese sailers in the 1600s and 'suffe' soon became 'surf'! So India and surfing go back a long way.

The 'culture of surfing’ in India is picking up fast with independent clubs and shacks opening their doors to people looking for a relaxed atmosphere with a natural, friendly vibe. They watch surfing movies together, barbecue in the evenings and make new friends!

Pic courtesy: The Shaka Surf Club FB Page

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Unique honeymoon travel ideas in India!

Tying the knot soon? The day of your dreams should definitely be followed by the honeymoon of your dreams! Here are some amazing romantic honeymoon ideas in India that will make your trip an unforgettable one.

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