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    Review: Darang Tea Estate, Dharamsala

    The privately-held Darang Tea Estate, roughly midway between Palampur and Dharamsala, is synonymous with warmth, hospitality and heavenly home-grown, home-cooked organic food. For pretty much every ingredient that goes into your meals comes freshly produced from their farm: fruits, vegetables, juices, dairy products, you name it.

    Read more »
  • Ballyhack Cottage

    Review: Ballyhack Cottage, Shimla

    The Ballyhack Cottage is arguably the best located property on Shimla’s famed Ridge – adjoining the Christ Church and minutes from the buzz of the Mall. Recently rebuilt, this five bedroom home has managed to tastefully incorporate the burnished wood sounds, smells and sights that usually age would accord such a place. It is, after all, set within the premises of the oldest surviving house built by the British, said to have been commissioned for then Governor General, Lord Amherst in 1826.

    Read more »
  • 4R3

    Gunehar: Where & Why

    On a visit to Palampur last summer, at the urging of those at Norwood Green I found myself headed for a day-trip to village Gunehar, hitherto unheard of. Located in close proximity to Bir, largely known as a paragliding destination when twinned with Billing – an activity I have not yet had the desire (read courage) to experience. You see, my sense of adventure extends far beyond the pale, to the palate. Wolfing down meals at all sorts of dubious places works just as well for me, if not my innards. Indeed my aim even that day last year was to locate this cafe, supposed haven of culinary treats that its owner Frank Schlichtmann created himself. In that sense, it was a wasted effort; a hot coffee and hurried chat across the cab boot was all I got.

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    Review: White Haven Estate, Dharamsala

    Undoubtedly Dharamsala’s most charming heritage, it is set at the top end of a large family-owned tea estate, far from the madding crowd. It was once owned by adventurers Robert Shaw, first European to set foot in the Central Asian city of Kashgar, and John Younghusband.

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    Forlorn Fortifications

    That undivided Punjab was astoundingly well-located on his inroad to Hindustan left many an invader swimmingly chuffed. Naturally, it left many a ruler at the receiving end suitably miffed. They began building citadels of varying sizes and strategic needs, studding the landscape with impregnable edifices whence the potentate in residence defended his moat-girded abode from behind crenellated ramparts and lofty barbicans.

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    Review: Nalagarh House, Manali

    You can be forgiven for believing you have entered the home of an English squire when you step into the tres chic drawing room at Nalagarh House. And you wouldn’t be that far from the truth, owned as it is by Vijayendra Singh, scion of the erstwhile Nalagarh State.

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    Review: Norwood Green, Palampur

    Immaculately designed with a great deal of emphasis on detailing, the ever so plush cottages at Norwood Green lend an incredible amount of luxury to your stay here. Top that with the uninterrupted majesty of snow-tipped Dhauladhars across hillsides carpeted with tea plantation.

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    Review: Himalayan Kothi, Kais

    The Himalayan Kothi is a very fine example of Katkhuni, traditional Pahari architecture, unique in that it uses no vertical supports. Constructed by building a mesh of thick cedar rafters, later stacked with stone, this earthquake-resistant style is a fast disappearing sight in Himalayan architectural vocabulary.

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    Best Escapes North India

    Remember the two babies I introduced in an earlier post? Well the twin has arrived too – in the guise of Best Escapes North India. Conceptualised differently from previous guides in the Escapes series, this one includes suggested itineraries within the states of Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Delhi, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. A power-packed, all-weather, every-season storehouse of authentic information and fun facts. Time to scramble for your copy.

    Read more »
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    The Devtas Of Himachal

    Himachal is full of mystique and wonder. Rightly known as dev-bhumi, the land of gods and goddesses, every village has its own presiding deity (devta). These devtas are as alive as you and me. They sleep, wake up, eat, dance and enjoy the beauty of nature like everyone else. They have families, relatives and near ones. They get angry, they sulk and are wooed back into good humour; often devotees also get annoyed with them and express their displeasure openly.

    Read more »

Travel

032

Review: Darang Tea Estate, Dharamsala

The privately-held Darang Tea Estate, roughly midway between Palampur and Dharamsala, is synonymous with warmth, hospitality and heavenly home-grown, home-cooked organic food. For pretty much every ingredient that goes into your meals comes freshly produced from their farm: fruits, vegetables, juices, dairy products, you name it.

Ballyhack Cottage

Review: Ballyhack Cottage, Shimla

The Ballyhack Cottage is arguably the best located property on Shimla’s famed Ridge – adjoining the Christ Church and minutes from the buzz of the Mall. Recently rebuilt, this five bedroom home has managed to tastefully incorporate the burnished wood sounds, smells and sights that usually age would accord such a place. It is, after all, set within the premises of the oldest surviving house built by the British, said to have been commissioned for then Governor General, Lord Amherst in 1826.

Latest in Books

cropped-leh1-547.jpg

Best Escapes North India

Remember the two babies I introduced in an earlier post? Well the twin has arrived too – in the guise of Best Escapes North India. Conceptualised differently from previous guides in the Escapes series, this one includes suggested itineraries within the states of Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Delhi, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. A power-packed, all-weather, every-season storehouse of authentic information and fun facts. Time to scramble for your copy.

Latest in Food

4R3

Gunehar: Where & Why

On a visit to Palampur last summer, at the urging of those at Norwood Green I found myself headed for a day-trip to village Gunehar, hitherto unheard of. Located in close proximity to Bir, largely known as a paragliding destination when twinned with Billing – an activity I have not yet had the desire (read courage) to experience. You see, my sense of adventure extends far beyond the pale, to the palate. Wolfing down meals at all sorts of dubious places works just as well for me, if not my innards. Indeed my aim even that day last year was to locate this cafe, supposed haven of culinary treats that its owner Frank Schlichtmann created himself. In that sense, it was a wasted effort; a hot coffee and hurried chat across the cab boot was all I got.

Best Escapes North India

cropped-leh1-547.jpg

Remember the two babies I introduced in an earlier post? Well the twin has arrived too – in the guise of Best Escapes North India. Conceptualised differently from previous guides in the Escapes series, this one includes suggested itineraries within the states of Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Delhi, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. A power-packed, all-weather, every-season storehouse of authentic information and fun facts. Time to scramble for your copy.

Read more

The Devtas Of Himachal

IMG_0191

Himachal is full of mystique and wonder. Rightly known as dev-bhumi, the land of gods and goddesses, every village has its own presiding deity (devta). These devtas are as alive as you and me. They sleep, wake up, eat, dance and enjoy the beauty of nature like everyone else. They have families, relatives and near ones. They get angry, they sulk and are wooed back into good humour; often devotees also get annoyed with them and express their displeasure openly.

Read more

Driving Holiday – Spiti

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Driving through these giant rock mountains you will realize that they could not have been carved by any mortal hand, only by the force of wind and water over millennia. And as you drive into Spiti either through Kinnaur or Manali, crossing native settlements you’ll learn that there is another path into the future – a path based on the co- evolution between humans and earth.

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ShopArt In-between

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ShopArt started with questions that came to my mind one day a year and half ago while I was walking up the main road of our village, past the many empty shops that lined the road. What is relevance? Why for instance are these shops here if there is no prospective of them being used productively? And what would be something ‘usefull’ to fill these shops with? My answer was: arts.

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