Posted in hawa mahal, india, indian, Iphone, Iphonex, jaipur, jaipur city, jaipur diaries, photography, Rajasthan, travel, travel diaries, travel writing, traveller, travelogue, Uncategorized

Travel Musings #1

It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that.

So one fine day, I forgot about my dream to visit Hawa Mahal and here I am, standing in front of it.


Momentary dwelling is always better than day dreaming.

Caption credits: Eleven minutes by #paulocoelho

Posted in himachal, himachal pradesh, himalayas, india, indian, indian cuisine, indian food, kullu, mountains, north indian, road trip, things to do in himachal, tirthan, tirthan river, tirthan valley, travel, travel diaries, traveller, travelogue, trek, trekking, Uncategorized

Travelogue – Tirthan valley, Kullu, Himachal Pradesh, India

Nestled amongst the mighty Dhauladhars and the fierce Tirthan river, this enticing valley should be on your wish list if you adore mountains.

I was fortunate enough to visit this beautiful place on a team outing and our stay was at the Camp Chrysalid, Tirthan, which is at the edge of the Great Himalayan National Park.
The rage of the Tirthan can be heard from a far off distance. It originates from the Tirthan glacier (I had no idea about this one) and flows through the treacherous landscape of the Himachal before
The journey from Delhi is an arduous one – 14 long hours and the last one hour is on a very narrow stretch of road. Forget your luxurious Volvo, a 30 seater has a better chance here.

The twittering of mountain birds welcome you as you step into the property of Camp Chrysalid. About 15-20 camps stand tall on a railed edge near the Tirthan river with damp Himalayan grass guiding your way. The camps/tents are well equipped with charging points, warm beds and blankets, inside pockets for keeping essentials, a shoe rack (wow!) and double layered mattresses. They are built on a raised platform, so no worries about water spoiling your luggage and beds during the monsoons or sporadic rain spell.

Washrooms are situated a few metres from the camps and are gender differentiated. The staff here is very energetic and loves to initiate all the team building activities with innovative energizers.
On day 1, after a back breaking journey of 15 hours and resting/refreshing for two hours, we decided to trek to a famous waterfall here. The trek is a short one but steep as hell. The crystal clear cold waters soothe your tired feet, so why not have a dip in them?

The meals are heavenly delicious and the variety in the dishes is exemplary.


On day 2, we proceeded for the adventurous activities – rappelling and valley crossing on a ropeway in the middle of the jungle on the mountains.
We visited this camp during the onset of monsoon and the river was in full flow. We were advised not to wade near the Tirthan so we restricted ourselves to a three step staircase while revelling in the songs that Tirthan played.

Posted in afghani chicken, chicken, chicken kebab, chicken tikka, gurgaon, india, indian, indian cuisine, kebab, mughlai, mughlai cuisine, mutton, north indian, seekh kebab, Uncategorized

Biryani Bhaijaan, Sushant Lok, Gurgaon

Yet another restaurant that promises to tantalize your palate, Biryani Bhaijaan is a nwly opened restaurant in Sushant Lok, Gurgaon. I commend the owner of this outlet because very few have the courage to experiment in Mughlai cuisine and succeed in that.

Chicken Malai Tikka: When mellow chicken pieces are drenched in thick, yoghurt based gravy, magic happens! The use of their secret masala adds to the depth of this mesmerizing appetizer. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.


Mutton Seekh kebab: As if the usual seekh kebabs weren’t appetizing enough that these guys drenched them in tangy and creamy gravy and presented it to you. Perfection is a small word for this one. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.


Murg Mussalam with Khameeri roti and Naan: I thank Biryani Bhaijaan for making my first experience with Murg Mussalam a memorable one. The consistency of the curry is perfect with the addition of peanuts and ginger jullienes. Chicken pieces are tender and egg perfectly boiled, but what baffles you the most is the addition of chicken seekh kebabs. A Mughlai experimentation at its best! Kalonji seeds are embedded in the naan imparting an unusual dimension to this whole ensemble. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.


 Biryani Bhaijaan Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in bangalore, biryani, coorg, coorg hills, dum biryani, hills, india, indian, indian cuisine, karnataka, kaveri, kushalnagar, madikeri, mutton biryani, mysore, mysore palace, namdroling monastery, resort, south indian, south indian cuisine, thallakaveri, travel, travel diaries, traveller, travelogue, Uncategorized, western ghats


We live in the vicinity of the Himalayas and it seems to be our first choice for a weekend getaway or even a long vacation. But when we are not yearning for an adventurous journey or a challenging trek, the hills of South India seem to be our next option.
Kodaikanal and Ooty have been on our bucket list for a long time now but we wanted a place away from the hustle bustle of the city life and touristy crowd. And that is where Coorg came in. No internet connection for two days with minimum network coverage can definitely leave anyone mad, but not when you are surrounded by three big hills, coffee plantation, colonial wood cottages, a small pond and an excellent hospitality.
Coorg is an enchanting travel destination located in the Western Ghats. When you head from Bangalore to the hilly slopes, the winding terrain bewitches you and it is difficult to take your eyes from the alluring scenic beauty.
Where to start: It takes around 6 hours from Bangalore to Coorg by a car through NH 2575 and en route you can enjoy the beauty of the famous Ramgarh hills where the legendary Sholay was filmed.
Pit stops: Kamat Upachar and Nakshatra
We had a light breakfast at Kamat located at Mudhugere, Bangalore Mysore Highway. The authentic South Indian Upma is to die for – a novelty for us North Indians.
A heavy lunch awaited us at Nakshatra located at the Bypass road, Hunsur on the Bangalore Mysore Road or NH 275. The chicken dum biryani was exceptional and it was the Mysore version of the biryani and was served with a spicy hot saalan or rasam. The vegetable curry was good though extra hot with the flavours of gun powder and garam masala igniting a lava on my palate. Washrooms are clean and ambience is good.

Just two hours from Coorg, we took a halt at Kushalnagar, which is home to several Tibetan settlements as well as the abode of Namdroling Monastery. A splendid Tibetan temple with a golden pagoda occupies the crest here. At around 4pm, you can hear the booming Buddhist chants when the monks gather in the main temple for their evening prayers. The chants sooth your clamorous soul and bring the eluding peace.
You can buy prayer flags, Tibetan handicrafts and paraphernalia from the shop at the starting of the monastery.

The uphill drive starts after Kushalnagar with very narrow paths. The roads become narrower as we proceed with the forests and the sideway plants/trees growing thicker and denser. The roads are not dangerous compared to the Himalayas, but they are deserted with no sign of a living being for miles. So it is better to avoid driving or even visiting the resort after 6pm.
The roads are not jittery and you will not feel even an impulse to vomit. But if you are a newbie, better to carry Avomin.
We had booked a resort, Leisure Vacations Three Hills, which is located in the valley and three giant hills surround it. It had three separate cottages and there were rooms in the main villa as well, but we had booked a cottage for ourselves and each morning we were greeted with a raw, enchanting natural beauty. There is a little pond nearby and one can spot the ducks gracefully swimming in it.

We visited Talakaveri the next day which is the place where the river Kaveri originates. A temple is situated here and because of the extreme height at which it is located you will be greeted by clouds which will be floating away in front of your eyes. Now if that doesn’t leave you flabbergasted, what will!

It is advisable to wear knee length or longer clothes to this place as you will not allowed to enter the temple. Additionally, they will rent out the traditional “lungi” or the wrap around garment at a meagre price of 10 bucks.

There are about hundreds of steps located near the temple and after climbing them, you can witness the whole picturesque and vividly green valley from the top. Though it would have been better if the temple authorities allow the tourists to wear footwear while climbing the stone steps, especially when the ground on the top is not levelled properly and has huge stones and boulders lying carelessly.
Our stay at the resort was pretty luxurious and relaxing. The steward assigned to us – Mr. Shiva took excellent care of the our requirements and was there to guide us about the place. We wished for authentic Coorg cuisine to be served to us and he, along with the cook presented the most explosive dishes to us. They were pretty new to us, extremely flavourful and way too spicy.



The dining area was in the main villa and the feasts were prepared on demand. We came to know about a local favourite here – Karimpettu – a rice and sooji steamed ball taken with spicy vegetable curry. Another favourite was the bread omelette they served us in the breakfast – fluffy yet thin omelettes wrapped around raw breads.

After a stay of two nights, we headed back to Bangalore and what better than Mysore for an afternoon stop over?
Note: Do not forget to buy home made chocolates, organic honey, spices and cosmetics from the local shops while driving from Coorg to Madikeri. You won’t regret any bit of it.
Our next stop over was at Desi Platter, Mysore were we got to gorge upon the exploding Mysore mutton dum biryani and a vegetarian meal before heading on to the famed Mysore Palace.

The famed Mysore Palace, which is the official residence of the royal family of Mysore was next on our itinerary. Towering over you, the behemoth palace casts a spell on you with its beautifully crafted walls which light up in the evening.

It was built by the 24th Raja of Mysore and is exquisitely designed. The glittery yet pastel shades of the ramparts and the ceilings can give those French balustrades a run for their money. The graceful and gigantic pillared halls echo with the voices of the tourists without losing their mysterious sheen.

The marriage hall or the Kalyan Mandapa is a unique octagonal shaped hall with symmetry raging in every mosaic and motif. We were awed by the glass panels situated towards the top of the hall and we are pretty sure you will be too.


Posted in biryani, dum biryani, hyderabadi biryani, india, indian, indian cuisine, mughlai, mughlai cuisine, south indian, south indian cuisine, Uncategorized

Delhi Rasoi, East of Kailash, New Delhi

Since I have been on a spate of exploring the delivery outlets of Delhi NCR, I have experienced the preparations of a handful of them and needless to say, there are few of them which leave an everlasting impression on me.
Delhi Rasoi is one such outlet which scored a 5 on 5 when it came to providing an enriching culinary experience while sitting in the comfort of your home. The order arrived well in time and here are the delicacies that I relished on:
Chicken Tikka: Such mellowness and tenderness coupled with the precise penetration of spices to the core and the crunchy smokiness adorning its exterior – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Paneer Lababdar: Even a hard core non vegetarian like me fell in love with this. A thick buttery gravy with the bursting flavours of cardamom and tomatoes – each morsel tastes like divinity. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani: So finally after a long time, had a food gasmic biryani – the enchanting waft of long grained Basmati rice and spices topped with caramelised onions with chicken pieces drenched in the herbs to the core. The chicken is so well prepared that the flesh falls off easily from the bones – optimum moistness. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.


Delhi Rasoi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in bhatti chicken, chicken, dal, dal makhani, delhi, dimsums, dumpling, galouti kebab, india, indian, indian cuisine, kebab, momos, naan, onion rings, roasted chicken, Uncategorized

The Grill Kitchen, Malviya Nagar

Food, food and sometimes too much of it. Don’t we all get bored of the same chicken tikka or daal makhani? It is cooked at our homes by us and our parents and served at all the north Indian restaurants and weddings. Sometimes, I wonder the sheer monotony of the same dishes.

To break this drudgery, The Grill Kitchen has come up with a novel taste to the same old dishes. A slight twist in the recipes and boom, you have a different conept. Not like serving the old wine in a new bottle and not overhauling the traditional recipes.

The food explorer in me was delighted to savour their lovely preparations:

Prawn dimsum: Who says that dishes fashioned out of smelly prawns need to have a strong whiff of sea? Subduing that unwanted aroma is where the skill of the chef is tested and if he/she is able to achieve this, then hats off! These prawn dimsums tasted like prawns but did not smell too much like them. The thin skin enclosing excellently flavoured minced prawn is a paradisiacal dish for prawn and dimsum lovers. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.


Bhatti chicken: It was way too tangy and dry. There was rum added in it but that should have made it a bit bitter not tangy.


Galouti kebab: Mellow and melt in the mouth made with the finest mutton mince – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.


Kadhai chicken: The dhaba style chicken served here is pure love. The medley of juicy chicken pieces drenched in a thick gravy of green bell peppers, tomatoes, onions and cumin seeds is sure to entice you. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.


Daal makhani: Decadency at its best! A hard core non vegetarian like me does not drool over daal makhani but this one forced me to. The daal served here was so flavourful, hot, creamy and spicy with every aspect in balance. Once I started having this with their chewy maida naan, I could not control myself. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.


Roasted chicken in herbs: This one should be on your priority tasting list if you love the sort of chicken in which the juicy flesh falls off the bones. This one was a s succulent as a chicken can get and was roasted in tangy Zaatar herbs and Indian spices. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.


The Grill Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in andaman, andaman islands, havelock, india, island, islands, travel, traveller, trip, Uncategorized

Andaman Diaries

Though late than never! It has been two years since we visited the very beautiful islands of Andaman and now we have got some time to write about it. We’ll share our experiences here as well as advice the readers on the do’s and do not’s. You can consider this a travel blog.

November to March is the best time to visit this place, considering its nearness to equator. And you need to book your flight tickets, ship tickets and hotel two to three months in advance. And yes, since you are going in the so called honeymoon season, do not under any circumstances, leave the bookings to the last minute.

According to us, if you are visiting these set of islands, it is better to go for a week and a half. Why? Because this is one place you are not going to visit again (talk about burning a hole in your pockets). And when you do visit, try to explore the islands which are allowed to be seen by tourists. We went for 4 days and we regret not visiting some islands.

There are three routes available for reaching Port Blaire through flight. Direct flights from Kolkata, Chennai and Delhi are there so you can first reach these cities according to your convenience and plan accordingly. We went from Delhi to Chennai and from Chennai to Port Blaire. And yes, these flights are not flying with every day.

Here is our day wise breakup of the places we visited :

Day 1 : We reached Port Blaire at 7a.m. in the morning. Port Blaire is a mountainous island, so you will experience slightly winding roads which are well maintained. The morning has a fresh airy feel to it because of the maritime influence. The people here are welcoming and polite and they will advise you to go here and there.

We stayed in a government guest house because it was a family trip. After resting for two to three hours, we went to a nearby South Indian restaurant Annapurna. You will find a host of South Indian restaurants here and can expect some amount of authenticity in the dishes served.

While roaming down the streets, you will feel the warm sun and the swift moving sea breeze. This is to be cherished.

During the day, we visited the Cellular Jail which housed the brave freedom fighters exiled by the Britishers. We saw the Light and Sound show, which depicts the saga of the heroic freedom struggle, in the evening. This place is a must visit, considering the historical factor associated with it and the ease with which the show is presented. The show will surely move one’s heart and is presented in such a beautiful and heart wrenching way that one is left emotional. The tickets are available from 3pm and it is better to grab them before they are sold out.


Day 2: Havelock is one island that should be on your go to list. Why? Because the pristine beaches there, are on the third number in Asia. And the ocean side resorts are soothing to the core.

Ships – private as well as government ones ply between the different islands of the archipelago and you need to carry the necessary belongings. Our ship was in the morning and it took 3.5 hours to reach the island. For a city dweller, the ship moving swiftly in the waters of Bay of Bengal is a treat. The ship is travelling at 20 knots, so do expect flowing winds and water splatter. There are different sections in the ship where you can keep your bags and sit. And yes, there is no nauseating feeling.

havelok 001

Havelock is a lovely island and has a host of beach and water facing resorts. Ours was the Dolphin resort at Vijaynagar beach and was a government one. It is available to government officers only. For private ones, the starting range is 4000-5000 INR.

The ocean facing resorts are a sight to behold. They are constructed a few inches above the ground so that periodic flooding of ocean waters does not damage the structures. Each resort has its own restaurant and bar and you have to pre-order your preferences because every dish is freshly made. We ordered prawns and fish and the whole course took 1.5 hours. Pre-orders are to be kept in mind while travelling here.

havelok 030

Our evening was spent at the Vijaynagar beach and it was not as good as the Radhanagar one but still serene. You can spot a host of dead corals on the beach and it is better to be careful while dipping your feet in the clear ocean waters. The sand is as white as it can get and the occasional white coloured crab will take your breath away.

Since we went on a full moon day, the high tides were pretty ravaging that day. A chilly breeze kept on blowing making the nights cooler than the day. You could hear the waves for the whole night if you wandered the resort. Walking at the beach in the night is not recommended as the waves bring poisonous snakes to the high tide line – we saw one and were relieved that there was an embankment to protect the resort from high waves.

Day 3

We woke up early and saw the sunrise which should definitely be on your list. Because of the eastern location, the sun rises pretty early here – 4:30 am to be precise, around March. Sunrise is a beautiful and peaceful spectacle and should not be missed at any cost.

havelok 028

The morning was sunny and we packed our stuff for our sojourn to the famed Radhanagar beach. This is the best beach of India and is the third best of Asia. The endless glistening white sand is a sight you will never forget in your whole life. The waters are so clear that you will wonder why you never visited this place before, and after visiting this place you would never want to visit any other beach. And since the moon was in its full bloom, the waves were humongous – the pressure of the ocean waters enough to disturb your balance if you are not careful. The beach is well maintained and clean to the core. They have separate washrooms and changing rooms which are chargeable. We spent around three hours there and were wishing to spend more.

We had plans to visit the Elephant beach but it was closed because of Holi. It should be on your visit list as the beach has elephants swimming in the ocean waters. How often do you see that?

We boarded our ship at 3:30pm and reached Port Blaire at 6:30pm. Since we were tired, we called it a day.

Day 4

It was our last day in Andaman, so we planned to visit North Bay island and some other attractions at the capital, museums being one of them.

North Bay is a coral island, so the boat will stop a few metres before the shore and a small glass boat will take you to the lands. There are no boat/ship docking points/jetty as their construction can destroy the corals which are a treasure here.


An early morning motor boat to North Bay is preferable as you will reach early and will be able to relish the myriad activities there. I decided to go for snorkelling, my sister went for scuba diving and my parents preferred glass boat. There was sea walk as well but we were not able to experience it as there was a long queue already present and we were short on time.

The island has trained scuba divers and snorkelling instructors and they are competent enough to handle you even if you do not know swimming. So do not be scared about venturing into the water as this is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

The glass boat is a good option for the elderly but it has its own disadvantages, one being that the glass fitted in the boat is not clean, hence making it difficult to view the corals.

Scuba diving is an ethereal experience. It was priced at 3000 to 4000 rupees but trust me it is worth every buck as you can see the corals and the beautiful and colourful fishes up close, which cannot be done through any other activity. Yes it is costly compared to other activities but in scuba diving they not only click your pictures when you are inside but also make a video, which will be a beautiful memory for you to hold on to. My sister was a little afraid about going into the water but even after spending one hour there, she didn’t want to come out. Scuba diving should definitely be on your list!!


Because most of the corals are already dead, it is better to do all these activities on other islands like Havelock and the Neil island as they have a rich coral deposit.

havelok 025

You can buy jewellery and souvenirs from the North Bay island. There are a number of shops selling pearls and sea shells. The pearls come in a variety of colours (pink, white and black) and sizes. Grab loads of them as they are a little bit on the expensive side at the emporiums.

Port Blaire has so many museums themed on sea creatures and history of inhabitants (original and migrants). The Samudrika Marine Musuem houses a variety of fish, crab, corals and other marine life. It is run by the Indian Navy and offers insight into the archaeology and marine life of the islands. We also visited the Fisheries museum which houses more than 300 species of the marine life which are endemic to this region.


The Anthropological museum offers an insight into the lives of the indigenous tribes of the Andaman and Nicobar islands like the Nicobarese, the Jarawas, the Shompens, the Onges, and the Sentinelese.

We visited the Corbyn’s Cove beach in the evening as well. The beach is  not as clean or beautiful as the beaches that are there in Havelock. You can indulge in water sports also but it is too much chaotic here.IMG_20150307_164535403