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 : 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.

Travel : The Naini Retreat, Nainital

If you remember our very first blogpost on Nainital , we did mention about covering the best places to stay as there are no renowned hotel chains in Nainital. The three best hotels to stay are : The Naini RetreatShervani HilltopThe Manu Maharani. Here we are reviewing our favourite out of the lot, The Naini Retreat –

About the property : Historically referred to as the residence of the Maharaja of Pilibhit, The Naini Retreat Hotel is among the best heritage hotels located in Nainital near the lake. The hotel is situated on the picturesque Ayarpatta Slopes, providing a breathtaking view of the Naini Lake at an altitude of 1,995 meters. The hotel embodies an old-world charm along with visible impressions of contemporary luxury.

Dining options : Coming to the food , there are 3 options : Lake View, which is their multi cuisine restaurant serving Indian and International delicacies. It is the perfect place to enjoy you meal with a panoramic view of the lake. Next is Stella Bar, which offers choices of the cocktails and mocktails. And then there is Garden Cafe and Grill for a quick breakfast, brunch or a dinner.

Recommendation : It definitely is the best place to stay in Nainital as it excels on all the prime parameters : location, food and luxury. Coming to the pricing, it was at a lower rate per day than both Shervani Hilltop and The Manu Maharani. Valley view rooms at The Manu Maharani were priced at fourteen thousand rupees approx, which is exorbitantly high compared to the facilities offered. Overall, a highly recommended place for your stay in Nainital.

Travel Tip : Call the hotel for exact directions as the route given by GPS isn’t appropriate for four wheelers.

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Mint leaves in drinking water

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Travel : Artificial Lake & Chairlift, Auli

The artificial lake in Auli is perched at an astounding elevation and is one of the world’s highest man made lakes. It was created to help in providing artificial snow on the ski slopes in event of scanty rainfall. This also helps in extending the skiing season in Auli. The lake is located right next to Clifftop Club  and we did cover some of its pictures in our very first blogpost on Auli.

The snow-clad mountains, skiing slopes and azure-blue water make for the most amazing scenery. The fact that it is a man- made lake does not dampen the magic and beauty of the place in any manner. Nature truly holds the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive and even spiritual satisfaction.

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The rope way connecting Joshimath to Auli is 4 kms long and offers magnificent views of the Himalayan landscape. If you really want to have a rendezvous with nature, the chair lift is the best available option. It starts from near the ITBP base camp and goes up till the lake. The fact that the chair lift is completely open and runs just a few feet above the ground adds to the thrill.

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Cable car from Joshimath

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Chair Lift

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Decor : Gulmohar Lane 1

It was while doing our Homes of the stars post that i came to know about Gulmohar Lane, a bespoke furniture label based in Jaipur. They have designed a lot of stuff for Parineeti Chopra’s home in Mumbai, which came as a big surprise as most star homes and their objects are completely opposite of anything unostentatious. So this was followed by some research about the brand’s ethos and then finally a wonderful interaction with the couple who owns this amazing brand.

Shweta Mewara and Saurabh Ailawadi, both NIFT graduates who worked with some of the leading brands in the fields of design, interiors, retail and brand management. During these job years they switched cities very frequently, every time styling a new space and turning it into their abode. This is when they realised the glaring gap between the demand and supply of simple, elegant and affordable furniture especially the one which is customised as per demand.

So the idea of Gulmohar Lane was born, with the aim of creating furniture that is comfortable, high on quality and adds beauty to a home. When I met the couple, the brand felt like a mirror image of their personalities : easy-breezy and quaintly charming. The duo is very clear on what they do not what to sell, you would not find any synthetic upholstery and only natural fabrics are used. Same rules apply to the wood being used. It’s amazing to come across brands which are conscious about their ecological impact.

Here are pictures from our visit to their store in Jaipur :

(All pictures were clicked during our visit to the Gulmohar Lane Store in Jaipur)

In the second part of this blogpost, we will be giving you a glimpse into some of their different collections of furniture and upholstery. Stay Tuned. 😊😊

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 ❤️❤️

Travel : Clifftop Club, Auli

We have done a series of blogposts about Auli – capturing the landscape in both its pre and post snow glory. Head over to the travel category and click on Auli to check all the previous posts. We mentioned about the lodging and boarding options in Auli in the very first blogpost. Uttarakhand government’s GMVNL guest house is a reasonable option and has basic facilities. For luxury seekers, Clifftop Club is the best available option.

About the property : It is located at more than 10000 feet above sea level (second highest resort in the world), making you feel literally at the top of the world. The view from the resort is something that you cannot understand virtually. You need to witness, breathe, experience and feel for yourself. The best part is that Clifftop is located right at the skiing slopes, adding to the thrill.

Dining options : The resort is entirely made of wood, which now has turned rustic owing to the vagaries of the weather. Accommodation choices are either the standard rooms or the suites. There is a single restaurant serving limited but delectable food. It would be unfair to expect multiple dining options at this height and terrain. The main activity is skiing, though I would say it is to soak in the beauty of the place 😃.

Coming to the pricing, it is between ten thousand to fourteen thousand during the peak snow season. The pricing is high compared to the amenities offered but, once you witness the challenges of running the resort in such daunting conditions, it feels justified. Also remember to check the weather prediction before making a booking as snow has become a rare commodity.

Travel Tip – The best way to reach the property is either by your own vehicle or via cable car from Joshimath.

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Nature is so totally awesome. It deserves our adoration, our reverence, our applause. Take care of the world around you. Celebrate its resplendence, never take it for granted ❤️❤️

After The Snow : Auli And Beyond

Head over to the first part of this blogpost here. This post has pictures of the same location after the snowfall, where in everything was engulfed in white. The very fact of snow is such an amazement. There’s just something beautiful about walking in snow that nobody else has walked on. It makes you believe you’re special. Silently, like thoughts that come and go, the snowflakes fall, each one a gem.

I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”

Enjoy the pictures :

Before The Snow : Auli And Beyond

These are some photographs from our travels in and around Auli, you can have a look at our previous blogposts on Auli here. These pictures were taken before the snowfall happened, after which the entire area seemed like a white paradise. In Auli, there is no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather. Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces up, and snow is exhilarating.

Witnessing your first snowfall is a magical feeling and Auli is a place where Mother Nature rules supreme in all her glory. All good things may not be free, but all the best things of life are definitely free.

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Narsingh Temple at Joshimath near Auli

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A Visual Delight : Part 2

So here we are with the second part of this blogpost, continuing with the visual gratification. This post covers prime government buildings like the Legislative Assembly, Martyrs Memorial, Statue Circle, Secretariat etc. I have learnt a new word “Splendiferous” , which means a wonderful sight. This is the perfect post to use this word 😉 –  The city looked splendiferous in a bountifulness of vibrant lights. 🙂

Here are the pictures :

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And The Mountains Echoed…

We travel for so many reasons : to honour ancient paths, to better understand the world, to broaden our minds, to look within ourselves. We travel because the winds inside our hearts compel us to drift. We travel for work, we travel for adventure, we travel so that we may achieve stillness. If we are truly wise, we travel for travel’s sake.

We travel so that we might find ourselves. It’s a paradox, in that the further we go, the closer we come to penetrating our self’s center. Looking at these mountains make you realise how small we humans are in front of nature’s might. Nature can keep our ego in check 😉

Jaypore’s Open House In Jaipur

I am an educator by profession but an artist in my fantasy life. There are so many handcraft traditions in India, that i fear one life will be too short to explore all of them. Even if i know i will not be able to explore all the paths, i want to be there! I love the idea that i still have so much to see and learn.

My love for Jaypore and its core philosophy is conspicuously displayed on the blog, it has been giving a platform to so many creative peeps to share their artwork with you. From the past few months, Jaypore has also started conducting expos in various cities of the country.  We have already covered their first expo,which was held in Delhi and also a blogpost on what all i purchased from it.

It was Jaipur’s turn to get its share of Jaypore’s magic. The expo was held in the beautiful surroundings of the Narain Niwas Palace. It was such a delightful feeling to witness so many handwoven/handcrafted fabrics like – banarasi, brocade, tussar silk, organic cotton, kantha work, ikat, block prints and so much more. Apart from the fabrics/apparel, there were hand-printed clutches, embroidered bags, silver/tribal jewelry, organic skincare, home decor etc.

The aesthetics of the expo were very charmingly done against a lush green backdrop, here are the pictures-

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I have got a severe vacation itch. Some quiet time in a far away land. Hope that happens soon 🙂 

Travel : Radisson Blu, Haridwar

Between Haridwar and Rishikesh, I have developed a strong affinity for the latter. Rishikesh delights me. In Rishikesh, one feels very close to nature and a sense of tranquility. On the other hand, Haridwar is congested and like a routine city. I would definitely recommend staying in Rishikesh and opting for a day trip to Haridwar to visit all the places.

About the property : We stayed at the Radisson Blu during our stay in Haridwar. It is far from the main city and is located close to the industrial hub. There wasn’t anything special about the property and it is just like one of those typical business hotels. I won’t advise it to people who are visiting Haridwar for religious/ recreational purposes.

Recommendation : It primarily caters to people visiting for official purposes or weddings. As a tourist, I was not happy with the idea of staying so far from the Ganga as that is what Haridwar is all about. But as they say, every experience teaches you something and makes you wise.

Here are the pictures-

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Wishing you lots of travels in this year ❤️, do follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Into The Clouds : A Photoblog

The journey from Rishikesh to Auli is an extreme paradox- an exhilarating feeling of conquering the mountains and the constant nausea due to the tortuous route. The clouds hovering over the mountains was a sight to behold. Here are the pictures-

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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 😍❤️