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 :
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.
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.
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.
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.
Anantaya is a lifestyle design studio that is centered on the philosophy of using traditional crafts in a contemporary style. The gamut of products designed include home decor, textiles, lighting, furniture, gifts etc. The store is located in the beautiful environs of Narain Niwas Palace, a place that provides a perfectly apt background for such eclectic products.
What I love most about Anantaya is the fact that there is a deep-rooted tradition behind each of their products, whose relevance has been so elaborately explained and then the product is designed in a completely unconventional way but nowhere losing on the origins. Whether it is the Cresent serve ware or the Lotus mirror, each item has been conceived not only from the beauty perspective but their being conducive to the overall well-being of a house.
There’s also a separate section dedicated to organic skincare with things like soap, lip balm, aroma oils, candles etc. The overall vibe of the store is very calming and uplifting. Visit Anantaya to buy things for your home or gifts for your loved ones or simply to witness the amazingly designed stuff 😊.
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.
It was the name Bookchor (Chor = Thief) that fascinated me into finding more about this company. Their aim is to make reading affordable by selling second-hand books at reasonable prices. You get to buy as well as sell books on their website, so increasing reading base without spending too much. Their quality inspectors ensure that the books are in decent condition.
These pictures are from their recent event held at the Birla Auditorium in Jaipur. “Lock The Box”, so all the books that fit in the box are yours. There were three different boxes : Odysseus (priced at 999 rupees and could fit 9-10 books), Perseus (priced at 1499 rupees and could fit 15-17 books) and Hercules ( priced at 2499 rupees and could fit 28-30 books). So you had the option of browsing the entire collection and then deciding which box to go for.
The reader in me was quite excited at the idea of buying so many books at low prices and i was pretty sure that i would end up buying the Hercules box. The exhibition hall was filled with thousands of books and so many readers browsing through them. Alas, most of these were fiction books meant for school/college students and I decided not to buy any of the box. But seeing so many children filling up their boxes enthusiastically was a wonderful sight. More power to Bookchor.
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 Retreat, Shervani Hilltop, The 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.
Aspiration was one of the first lifestyle expos that we covered for the blog. The decor was vibrant and there were a lot of stalls selling some amazing apparel and accessories. I could not resist the temptation and did buy some chic accessories. This year’s expo had an even elaborate decor and a wide variety of participating shops, though most of the stuff was all about the bling with ornamentation and embellishments. Since there is no wedding that i have been invited to in near future, i did not buy anything thankfully 😉
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.
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.
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 :
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 :
Hope you enjoyed this sneak peek into Nainital, do like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram for more such stuff ❤️❤️
It is very gratifying to cover the new edition of an expo, which you have covered before. It’s like a journey that you have completed as an experience collector and nothing can be more rewarding. As the name suggests, Lagan Mandap is all about the glitz and glamour of wedding shopping. Here’s the link to the previous edition of this blogpost . This time the exhibition was held on a much larger scale with lots of participating stores and beautiful fresh flowers based decor.
One could find everything needed in a wedding under one roof. There were a plethora of semi-precious jewellery stalls, embellished clutches, sarees, Indo-western gowns, lehengas, footwear and a lot more. Also they had some very eclectic gift wrapping and packing stuff, which is a very important part of wedding preparations.
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.
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 ❤️❤️
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.
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.”
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.