• IMG_3365

    Review: Himalaica, Bhowali

    They should have called them Hook, Line, and Sinker. For, have no doubt, you will be falling for them. I refer to the reception turn-out at a recent home-stay experience in Bhowali, a short, mostly pretty drive away from Nainital, Bhimtal and Sattal. Flowery garlands, aromatic sprinkles, exotic drinks, refreshing wipes, gel-coiffed cheery staff, step aside. Nothing quite says ‘Welcome’ like a woof, a wag, and a…whoa…slurp! If you disagree, read no further, because this post is about the house where Raja, Lama, and Cyber live.

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    Fortifying Punjab’s Heritage

    Early on in February this year a motley lot largely comprising Europeans was spotted excitedly finding its way around the flatlands of Punjab. Somewhat out of character, one would say, as the state as a whole is not known to be a destination for mass tourism or group travel. Excepting, of course, sundry jathas headed to one or more of its historical or popular places of faith, which is generally a domestic movement with the odd NRI family thrown in.

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    Churu: Rajasthan’s Forgotten Marwari Marvel

    Nothing in the bumpy ride from a desultory train station to your hotel quite prepares you for the whimsy-wonder that is Churu. On the face of it, it is just another unexceptional town fringing the Great Thar preoccupied with generally going about life as usual. Largely notorious for mercurial swings ranging from near freezing point to hovering around the 50 degrees mark in high summer.

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    The Book Cafe, Kullu

    A summer visit to Kullu Valley generally mandates bye-passing the eponymous township en route Manali, its poster destination. Unsurprising, as what you see of it from across the Beas is unremarkable and uninviting.

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    Bespoke, she spoke

    Were I to pick a single indelible impression from my visit to Hyderabad last year, the genteel mien of an indomitable Suraiya Hassan Bose jumps promptly to attention. A spry eighty-something who has devoted the past three decades of her life to reviving Persian brocade. For the most part, unaided.

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    (Al)lure Of The Himalaya

    Dear Peeved Mountain-loving Subscriber,

    This one is for you. Just this once. For no reason other than that I empathise with your yearning for a topography nonpareil; indeed my bailiwick.

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    Times Food Guide

    Authoring the 2015 Times Food Guide for Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali counts as yet another first. Challenging, but still. It is no secret that the Tricity is not topping charts as a gourmand’s destination, unlike say a Delhi or an Amritsar, but it did throw up some little-known gems that I hope will stay the course.

    Read more »
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    Review: A World Within By Minakshi Chaudhry

    Book churner Minakshi Chaudhry’s latest literary outing, her 13th, is a clear departure from her earlier works. A World Within is a two-year conversation between a dementia-struck father and his daughter even as he slowly and surely disconnects from his familiar former self.

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    Excavating The Story of Sirpur

    For a place named after wealth, Sirpur has clearly witnessed, is witnessing, vastly varying tides of fortune. This is one of myriad thoughts that flit through my mind as I sit watching the third edition of the Sirpur National Dance and Music Festival (16th-18th Jan) unfold before me.

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    Atmospheric Nizamuddin in Pictures

    The mausoleum of Hazrat Nizamuddin sits amidst a labyrinth of really narrow passages which mostly and quite magically lead up to the dargah regardless of where you might be starting out from. Am sharing here a few images that hopefully capture the ambience of the place.

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Travel

IMG_3365

Review: Himalaica, Bhowali

They should have called them Hook, Line, and Sinker. For, have no doubt, you will be falling for them. I refer to the reception turn-out at a recent home-stay experience in Bhowali, a short, mostly pretty drive away from Nainital, Bhimtal and Sattal. Flowery garlands, aromatic sprinkles, exotic drinks, refreshing wipes, gel-coiffed cheery staff, step aside. Nothing quite says ‘Welcome’ like a woof, a wag, and a…whoa…slurp! If you disagree, read no further, because this post is about the house where Raja, Lama, and Cyber live.

IMG_1761

Fortifying Punjab’s Heritage

Early on in February this year a motley lot largely comprising Europeans was spotted excitedly finding its way around the flatlands of Punjab. Somewhat out of character, one would say, as the state as a whole is not known to be a destination for mass tourism or group travel. Excepting, of course, sundry jathas headed to one or more of its historical or popular places of faith, which is generally a domestic movement with the odd NRI family thrown in.

Latest in Books

IMG_20150409_114108

The Book Cafe, Kullu

A summer visit to Kullu Valley generally mandates bye-passing the eponymous township en route Manali, its poster destination. Unsurprising, as what you see of it from across the Beas is unremarkable and uninviting.

Latest in Food

DSC_9513-002

Times Food Guide

Authoring the 2015 Times Food Guide for Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali counts as yet another first. Challenging, but still. It is no secret that the Tricity is not topping charts as a gourmand’s destination, unlike say a Delhi or an Amritsar, but it did throw up some little-known gems that I hope will stay the course.

Sufi Stirrings

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The Delhi Sultanate (1206-1526CE) is collectively credited for welcoming into its centuries long fold Sufi intellectualism even as the Mongols were busy trouncing it back home in Central Asia. Eventually, the Mongols too pushed their way into Hindustan but by then this mystical tradition of Islam, drawn no doubt in equal part by the spiritual mystique of Bhakti thought, had found a firm foothold. The Sufis of yore were philosophers, scholars and poets of immense note, as much as they were itinerant knowledge seekers who established a number of silsilas (orders) in their adopted homes.

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