Travel : Pithoragarh City Guide 1

How to reach : The way to experience real India is to be away from the chaotic tourist towns and pages of the usual guide books. This real India : inspires and humbles, is artistic yet genuine, simultaneously incredible and heartbreaking and surely takes a little effort to find. One such place is the quaint little town of Pithoragarh. It is located in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand and is a seven hours tortuous journey from Nainital, passing through the picturesque hills of Almora.

The typical ‘Indian’ tourist, who once wanted to visit every place given in a travel guide, is now evolving. It is not about ticking off things in a list anymore, but to find a place where you can get some much needed “me” time and places like Pithoragarh are perfect for that.

Here is a glimpse of this beautiful town followed by snapshots of two of the must see places :

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Kamakshya Temple : Sun-kissed peaks and a panoramic view of the entire city is what you get from here. The temple has a unique history and was set up by a soldier of the Indian Army and it is still being looked after by his family.

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On The Rocks Cafe : This mountain cafe surprised us as we did not expect such quirky decor in a small town eatery. Loved gorging on the delectable chinese food with views of the valley.

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So this was part one of our Pithoragarh itineary, more to come in the second part! Remember it is only when you go off the beaten path that you encounter such uninterrupted views of Nature. Cherish every bit of it.

Travel : Saturday Night Market, Goa

My favorite way to get to know a culture is by getting lost in the markets of the locals. It is the best way to see how people really live, how they eat and interact, and in what they place value. Goa has two such markets, which are held once every week : Anjuna Flea Market and Saturday Night Market at Baga. While the former has more of authentic Goan stuff (new and old), the latter is an amalgamation of people and crafts from all over the country.

This post covers our experience at the Saturday Night Market, which is a panoply of myriad forms of craft, food and music. There were umpteen stalls selling Tibetan jewellery, jute/straw handbags, Goan spices, Tribal silver ornaments, Beachwear, wooden decor and a whole lot of other stuff. For food lovers, the fare ranged from Tibetan momos and Chinese to authentic Goan delicacies and yes lots and lots of alcohol.

Take shopping as an experience of finding a great product from a treasure trove and you will be enchanted. I loved rummaging through the stuff to find that one perfect piece to carry home as a souvenir. And more than shopping, it was a great way to discover Goa and its people beyond beaches.

Travel Tip : The market is usually very crowded so for commuting prefer two-wheeler over four-wheeler.

Here are the pictures :

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Travel : Shervani Hilltop, Nainital

I never tire of the hills. The wide open spaces and star-filled skies inspire me, define me. In the mountains, there’s always something to learn, and I feel like I am capable of so much more than I imagined. This was me reminiscing about my trip to Nainital, here’s the link. Then we did another blogpost on The Naini Retreat , a great place to stay in Nainital.

About the property : This post is about Shervani Hilltop, a boutique hotel located in Mallital. The wooden interiors, manicured lawns and lush green surroundings give an old world charm to the place. If you want to escape the crowd and have some time to yourself, it is an excellent option. You get a panoramic view of the mountains from any place in the property, but the Naini Lake isn’t visible from the hotel.

Dining options : Coming to the dining options, there’s the Courtyard bar which serves cocktails and mock tails and a restaurant for all day dining. Both these places have been done up in Victorian style and are very much in sync with the overall decor of the place. Though the view and the food options at The Naini Retreat are much better.

Recommendation : For people who are visiting Nainital for the first time, Naini Retreat is a better option as it is a beautiful heritage property located close to the Naini Lake and the Mall Road. For those seeking tranquility and an escape from the mundane city life, Shervani Hilltop is a good choice.

Travel Tip : Get your bookings done online as pricing is lower than what you will get at the hotel and this applies to almost all the good hotels in Nainital.

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Hope you enjoyed our Nainital experience 😍. Do follow us on Facebook and on Instagram.

Pop Up Couture : Funky Fish 2nd Edition

Funky Fish was our very first blogpost on the trend of pop up couture. It is a tad different from regular handicrafts and lifestyle expos. These events are not about promoting regional crafts or artisans, but primarily have designer/high-end labels showcasing their collection to people of a particular city.

Also, it is a pertinent medium for brands which only have an online presence as customers get to understand and feel the vibe of their products. “Enchanted Garden” was the theme of the previous edition of Funky Fish held at Hotel Hilton, Jaipur. This time the theme was “Dreamcatcher” , here are the pictures :

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Travel : Nainital City Guide

How to reach : A good traveler takes only memories and leaves no tracks. The same cannot be said about Nainital, a popular hill station located in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand. Nainital is ensconced around an emerald lake surrounded by lush green mountains, but the amount of trash being emptied into the lake is ruining the beauty of this serene place. If we keep throwing garbage like this, there will be no mountains. All we will have are mountains of garbage.

Places to visit/Staying options : The place is great for a small rejuvenating break from the routine. Almost all the good hotels in Nainital offer a panoramic view of the mountains and the lake. The three best hotels to stay are : The Naini Retreat, Shervani Hilltop, The Manu Maharani. One can choose to just relax and enjoy the surroundings. For the more touristy ones, there are several options like : boating in the Naini lake, shopping and eating at the Mall Road or Tibetan market, Naina Devi Temple, Cable car ride to the snow view point and visiting the zoo.

Every blogpost that urges travellers to switch to eco friendly alternative counts. Every less plastic bottle used and disposed counts. Every voice discouraging their usage counts. Everything we do as individuals counts. Every responsible travel choice counts.

There aren’t any renowned hotel chains in Nainital, we would be covering the best hotels to stay in Nainital in subsequent blogposts. Here are the pictures from our trip :

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Hope you enjoyed this sneak peek into Nainital, do like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram for more such stuff ❤️❤️

Hidden Treasures : A Lifestyle Show

Being a blogger, I have had the privilege of covering so many wedding and lifestyle expos. Apart from the collection showcased by the participating brands, one thing that really stands out in any such event is the decor. It makes shopping feel like an artistic experience, renders luxury unintimidating and big-brand browsing feels refreshingly fun. Hidden Treasures was one such expo which was held at the  Diggi Palace, Jaipur. The whole outdoor area was done up with white paper lamps, artificial flowers and soft lighting, giving the place a very graceful and dainty vibe.

The exhibition had clothing, shoes, bags, precious & semi-precious jewelry, lifestyle accessories & artifacts, paintings & furniture, organic products & more from all across the nation and overseas. I don’t know which i like best : wearing jewelry or photographing jewelry 🙂 . There was also a live band and some cafes to enjoy in the beautiful settings, making this lifestyle show a perfect experience for all.

Here are the pictures :

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Kailash Kher : Musical Night @ JLF – 2018

We gave you a glimpse of the glitterati and the literati attending the Jaipur Literature Festival  , here are the links to the two blogposts – Part 1 and  Part 2. Apart from the sessions at Diggi Palace, A musical night is held every day during the five days of the festival. These happen at Hotel Clarks Amer and the entry charges this year were 600 rupees per person per day. Among the lineup of performers, day one had a performance by Kailasa – Kailash Kher’s music band. It was a great musical fiesta but again like the main event at Diggi Palace, there was too much crowd which was not commensurate with the seating arrangements made at the venue.

Since most people were interested in attending Kailash Kher’s performance, tickets for day one were sold beyond the capacity of the venue. Barring the mismanagement, it was an awesome show. Kailasa is a great band with some very talented artists. Also there was a panoply of mouthwatering delicacies prepared by the Clarks Amer catering team, though there were very limited options for vegetarians 😒.

Here are pictures from the musical night :

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Jaipur Literature Festival : Part 2

Here we are with the second set of pictures from the Jaipur Literature Festival – 2018. You can have a look at the first part of this blogpost here. This year’s festival had a centrally located bazaar which had handicrafts, jewellery, apparel etc from various parts of the country. The mode of payment for any product or food item was completely cashless in the entire festival, giving an impetus to digital India.

There was a book store by Full Circle , which had books of all the authors who were participating in the festival. There was a Penguin store selling some quirky books based articles : Think rustic, gilded memo blocks, handmade paper, thread-stitched notebooks, souvenir maps and stationery that is kitschy, vibrant and just plain cool. Such stuff motivates you to write more and type less.

Coming to the food part, there was the special Diggi chai, samosas, kachoris, gol gappas etc. There were food stalls from Subway, Burger Farm, Chayyos, Fat Lulu’s, Fumo Attico and a whole lot of other stuff to try.

Here are the pictures :

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Hope you enjoyed our coverage of the Jaipur Literature Festival – 2018, we will soon be doing a collection of memories from the previous editions of the fest ❤️❤️

Jaipur Literature Festival : Part 1

Jaipur Literature Festival is undoubtedly the most prolific and the most diversified literary event in the world. I still remember the first edition of the fest in 2008, there were barely a hundred book enthusiasts who attended the fest. Within ten years, the festival has grown by leaps and bounds. The five days of the festival are like immersing in an ocean of books wherein you get a chance to witness so many talented authors and hear their words of wisdom.

There is one thing that I would definitely want to convey to the festival organisers. Over the years, JLF has become more of a glamour parade for people. There is no denying that there’s a great lineup of authors and it requires meticulous planning on the part of the organisers. But the audience attending the festival should have some understanding or appreciation of these literary geniuses.

The festival gives you the option of either a free registration or a delegate registration worth 22000 rupees. There should be something for people who have a serious interest in literature and are okay paying a moderate amount for it, so that they at least get a seat and hassle-free access to the sessions.

Here are pictures from JLF -2018 :

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Travel : Yog Niketan By Sanskriti, Rishikesh

The city is a wonderful place for filling up on interesting people and inspiring culture- but nature holds all the ultimate truths. I have officially found my happy place, and it is the Yog Niketan by Sanskriti in Rishikesh. Imagine spending a blissful holiday in the lap of nature, embraced by its expansive bounty and yet enveloped in all the comfort and conveniences that luxury offers.

Luxury here doesn’t mean the sophistication one gets at typical business class hotels or at renowned resorts, but all basic comforts and a dreamy location in the heart of this pious city. The surroundings here are very clean compared to the other locations in Rishikesh

About the property : Yog Niketan  is a beautiful, green oasis that provides a soothing cocoon from the bustle of everyday urban living. From morning to evening, one can immerse into the enchanting view of the mighty Ganga. I don’t think there’s any place in Rishikesh which can offer a better view than this. It is a perfect place to listen to some music or read your favourite books and lounge, do nothing but lounge 😊

The Parmarth Temple is located right across the opposite side of the hotel and is a 5 minute walk via the Ram Jhula. I will definitely recommend attending the Ganga aarti in the evening as it is a truly magical experience. The atmosphere is mystical with the river being lit up with so many oil lamps and the continuous chanting of prayers by the priests.

Dining options : Coming to food, there aren’t many options but everything is freshly made with organic ingredients at their restaurant, no soft/hard drinks, only fresh fruit juices are available for beverages. A classical music performance also happens during dinner time. Guests can also sign up for an hourly session every morning at their yoga centre. The overall experience at the hotel was very calming for the mind.

Recommendation : If you are visiting Rishikesh for the first time or if visiting the various temples is on your agenda, Yog Niketan is the most suitable option. The pricing is slightly steep and falls between four thousand rupees to six thousand rupees (depending on season), but it undeniably has the best location in Rishikesh.

Night view from the room

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Do remember to book a Ganga view room whenever you visit 😍❤️

Travel : Bob Dylan’s Cafe, Shillong

The Scotland of east, Shillong, has established itself as the rock music capital of India. The winner of India’s Got Talent- Season 2 was the Shillong Chamber Coir. Bacardi NH7 Weekender, India’s largest multi-genre music festival hosts an edition in the gorgeous hills of Meghalaya every year.

Shillong’s love for music has been epitomised in the form of a cafe dedicated to the maestro Bob Dylan. You will fall in love with the quirky music based decor and the stunning views of hills all around. The cafe also has some souvenirs, which the visitors can buy as a token of remembrance. The food options are decent and the taste is much better than the other restaurants in Shillong, especially vegetarian.

Here are the pictures from our visit –

Delhi Haat : 2

In our previous blogpost, we took you through a plethora of striking charms present at the Delhi Haat, now is the time to brief you about our shopping haul, we behaved like harridans, haggling about prices with the shopkeepers to drive a hard bargain 😂😂. It was better than shopping at an air conditioned mall, bargaining is an inherent talent present in all females 😉So here’s a look at the stuff I purchased from the Haat, total amount spent = 1300 rupees 1. Oxidised Silver Bangles– Bought these two oxidised silver bangles, one with a knick-knack and one without. I tried them together and found the combination perfect. They can go with Indian as well as western outfits, since silver jewellery is the trendiest thing these days. I am in love with the bohemian-rustic appeal of silver jewellery. Price = 200 rupees.  2. Oxidised silver tribal earrings– loved the shape, intricate work and overall appeal of these earrings. You do not need to wear any other accessory along with them, one should never overdo accessories and always let one piece be the striking part of your look. These earrings add just the right amount of glamour and can be paired with almost any outfit. Price = 150 rupees. 3. Beaded Hairband – The girl at this particular accessories stall was wearing this kind of a beaded hairband and it looked really chic so I decided to take one for myself, loved the peach and gold combination. It can even be used as a choker. Price = 100 rupees.4. Footwear– Metallic and turquoise, the combination was too good to resist. And the fact that they were super comfortable flats was the icing on the cake. All three of us bought one pair each 😂. Price = 400 rupees. 5. Clutch– I was looking for a beige-nude tone clutch from long, and this one had a perfect  mesh of orange and pink floral embroidery. It is not too blingy yet glamorous in a subtle way. Price = 450 rupees. Here’s what my friends purchased from the Haat-

1. Embroidered Kaftan– Anjali purchased this beautiful sheer kaftan, it can go with jeans, palazzos, leggings, skirts and can even act as a coverup over a bodysuit for beaches. We loved the vibrant colour and the versatility of the outfit. Price =700 rupees. 2. Tribal Coin Necklace- Again a versatile piece, which can complement a number of outfits. We all seem to be in awe of silver jewellery 😊. Price = 500 rupees.3. Earrings- Sweta purchased these beautiful oxidised silver earrings, we loved the info-western vibe of these. The quintessential jhumkis combined with an abstract shape structure. Price = 200 rupees. Hope you enjoyed the sneak-peek into our shopping haul at the Delhi Haat, keep following us on Facebook and Instagram. Lots of love ❤️❤️

Food : Authentic Italian Pizza

Food lovers go crazy with Italian cuisine, where simple dishes,high-quality ingredients & lots of passion rule the table. It’s all about ingredients; it’s not fussy & fancy. Spending 5 days in Italy has given me an insight into – why everyone should get on the thin-crust, pie as big as your face, pizza making bandwagon.

Nothing can beat the simple Italian classic pizza. Of course,the beauty of pizza lies in the limitless opportunities for creativity with the toppings. Try topping your own pizza with lots of eatable stuff. These recipes do not come with a manual. To put it better, these so called creative recipes are more like a blind fold test for the blogger in me.
Adding something to these recipes from your very own kitchen would surely drive your husband nuts;). Italian Pizzas are finger licking good and are easy to make, i don’t need to rack my brain over whether the flavours go together or if the result would be edible.

Here is the recipe of authentic Italian pizza with different type of standard Italian toppings commonly found in Italy to get started & inspire your own creations. Once you have mastered making your own pizza dough at home ,the real fun begins-exploring all the endless types you can make.

Margherita pizza(triumph of Italian cuisine in the world)

Prep time-2 hrs / Cook time-10min / Total time-2:10 min

Ingredients-
1. For Base making
2 cups -All purpose flour
2 tbsp-olive oil
2 tbsp-yeast
1cup-luke warm water
Salt-1/2 tbsp

2. For Topping
Canned tomato sauce
Mozzarella cheese
Crushed basil leaves

3. Seasoning
Oregano
Chilly flakes

Directions:-
Step 1- Place all the ingredients of pizza base in a bowl & after mixing all the ingredients knead the dough vigorously for about 10-15 min until it becomes soft & smooth.

Step 2- Shape the dough in a ball form & keep it in a air tight container for about 2 hrs & let it rise & become doubled in volume.

Step 3- Once the dough is doubled in volume divide it into 2 equal loaves,take each loave & give it a round shape chapati form flattening them using your fingers.

Step 4-Use a ladle or spoon & apply good amt of canned tomato sauce all over the base,spread lots of mozzarella cheese over the base torn into pieces & sprinkle basil leaves over the topping.Don’t forget to drizzle it with few drops of olive oil to make it more crunchy.

Step 5-Pre-heat the oven at 180 C for 10-15 min,once the oven is pre-heated place it in the oven for 8-10 min at 250 C.

Step 6- Once the pizza is ready,garnish it with pizza seasoning & serve immediately.

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Pizza ai Funghi(Pizza with Mushrooms)
Mushrooms are always a favourite,& the most imp thing to get it right is to always saute the mushrooms before putting them on pizza. When you bake the mushrooms raw, they will release a lot of liquid that will make your pizza soggy. For addtional flavour saute it with garlic & parsley.

Ingredients

1. For topping:-
200grams sliced mushrooms
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp- fresh flatleaf parsley chopped
Salt & black pepper
4 tbsp-olive oil
Canned tomato sauce

Directions:-
Step1- For base making the same process is followed as in margherita.

Step 2-Heat 4tbsp olive oil in a non-stick pan & saute mushrooms for a few minute over high heat until they start to color.

Step3-Add parsley & garlic & season with salt & black pepper.continue to saute until it becomes golden brown& most of the liquid is evaporated.

Step 4- Pat dry with tissue paper to remove extra oil.

Step 5- spread the tomato mixture on the base,add mushrooms in a single layer & dot with mozzarella.

Step 6- Place it in a oven at 250 C for about 10-15 min until the crust is golden brown & the cheese is bubling.Once the pizza is ready garnish it with oregano & serve immediately.

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Pizza quattro Formaggi (“four cheese pizza”, tomatoes, and the cheeses mozzarella, stracchino, fontina and gorgonzola; sometimes ricotta is swapped for one of the latter three)

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Did you just have a foodgasm?If not do try these recipes at home & i guarantee you will have one when it hits your tongue.

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Travel : Dadhikar Fort, Alwar

This post is about a trip I took with my mother to explore “Dadhikar Fort”. It is located at the outskirts of Alwar, which is at a distance of about 160 kms from both Delhi and Jaipur, making it a perfect weekend getaway. I got to know about the place from a friend who visited the Fort for an outing with her family. I did some research on TripAdvisor and the reviews were very much positive.

About the property : Dadhikar Fort, a beautiful combination of nature, graceful history of thousand years and the reflection of ancient Indian art and culture. You get to witness immaculate hospitality, delicious meals and a tête-à-tête with the locals of the village. We even got a chance to interact with the owner of the property, who was gracious enough to give us a detailed glimpse of the history of the Fort.

How the place came into existence- When Ramji Kaushik, a middle class boy from Alwar, decided to buy a dilapidated fort on the outskirts of Alwar city, his friends thought he had lost his sanity. Neither the hilltop fort nor the Dadhikar village at its foothill had water or electric supplies. There was no road leading up to the ruins of the once-fortified haveli. Everybody else saw it as the derelict structure that was devoid of amenities but he envisioned it as a getaway far from city life, with a breathtaking view. He recycled the stones from rubble, hunted down retired masons who could work with old style of limestone construction, trained young labourers from the Dadhikar village itself. Imperial looking wooden gates were custom made from Jodhpur, janglas sourced from Shekhawati and the entire fort was furnished like an antiquated and fortified haveli.

What we loved the most-What fascinates you most about the property is the fact that the rustic charm has not been lost in keeping up with the modern needs. The locals are very much a part of the hotel’s daily activities and the place perfectly blends in with the quaint aura of the village. It doesn’t give you that typical “5-star property” vibe which interferes with the ecological balance of the surroundings.

Since the fort’s initial structure is not modified, each room is different and has been given a unique name. They also have Swiss tents which is where we stayed. You can choose the rooms as per your taste and budget. We made our booking through Goibibo , you can find more about the place on TripAdvisor and their website Dadhikar Fort.

Recommendation : A quick tip – Try visiting the place in the months of September- March as you won’t be able to venture out much in summers, also it wil be difficult to munch on the delectable food they serve. We went in December and the weather was just perfect.

A surprise coming soon, keep following us on Facebook and Instagram. Here are pictures from the trip- IMG_3960

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The vintage charm very much maintained 
Admiring the view

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Delicious food with spectacular views

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Fort Interiors 
Folk performances at night

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Delectable
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Nature at its best 

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The Swiss tents where we stayed, so close to nature :)
Beauty!

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Mom with a village local
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The place where breakfast is served 

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Food : Corn Shots

A new delicacy- Corn Shots 

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It was during my recent dinner outing at the newly opened cafe- Tapri Ashram  at Marriott, Jaipur that i discovered an interesting delicacy in their menu called “corn shots”. I am a big fan of anything related to corn, be it a pizza or a sandwich or pasta so it was inevitable to try this novel dish. I enquired about this canapé, which is when the big secret was revealed- corn shot is basically our very own puchkas (gol-gappas) with a filling of corn, mayonnaise and cheese. This was an unimaginable combination of two of my most favourite things- corn and puchkas.

One plate is priced at 140 rupees and had 9 corn shots, which is quite a fair deal. This delectable and easy to make savoury can be a scrumptious starter for any party. Especially in the army fraternity where we are on a constant lookout for new recipes, this can be a perfect item in the menu for an elaborately planned house warming to a quick tea party and it barely requires any culinary skills, a big relief for cooking novices like me 😊

Here’s the recipe-

Ingredients-

1. Puchkas

2. American corn

3. Mayonnaise

4. Oregano

5. Chilli flakes

6. Mozzarella cheese(grated)

7. Coriander(finely chopped)

Method –

1. Make a mixture of American corn and mayonnaise.

2. Take a puchka and make a hole. Fill it with above mixture.

3. Top it with grated cheese, oregano, chilli flakes and coriander leaves.

Your mouth-watering corn shots titbits is ready, with a preparation time of less than 10 minutes.

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Do share your feedback when you try this quickie appetiser and yes if you have any such easy recipes, we would love to share it on the blog. Keep checking our daily stories on Instagram and Facebook.