My TedX Talk on Travel

In January 2015, I was invited by Symbiosis Institute of Business Management in Bengaluru to give a talk at their TedX event on why I travel – and how everyone else can too. The theme of the session was ‘Carpe Diem’ or ‘Seize the day’, and i spoke about my own experiences and motivations, and…

A new Facebook page

So, what’s new on Itchy Feet? A brand new Facebook page, that’s what – https://www.facebook.com/travelswithcharu After years of resisting – how many places in social media can I manage – I finally succumbed to the pressure and set up this page. And now to find interesting content for it on a regular basis (apart from…

Where our cricket bats come from

The young employee of my Pahalgam hotel shrugged his shoulders dramatically when I asked him a probing question about that part of Kashmir. “I’m from Jammu, madam, I don’t know much about this place,” he replied, the indifference writ large on his face. I’m only here to make a living, he seemed to imply. Being…

Alphorn lessons in the Swiss Alps

Within moments of taking the alphorn into my hands – with the naïve idea of learning to play it – I understand why this instrument is jokingly referred to as the original Swiss mobile phone. The pure notes that come out of this instrument were indeed perfectly suited for locals to communicate with each other…

Paradise rediscovered: a weekend in Srinagar

I muttered harshly to myself as I walked half asleep into Srinagar’s cool air at 5 am. The shikara was waiting at the pier when we reached, ready to take us to the floating market on Dal Lake. As we glided on the lake, the silence broken only by the rhythmic swish-swish of the wooden…

Photoessay: the Big 5 and more from Kenya

Elephants trumpeting Zebras mating Buffalos sunning Wildebeest migrating Ostriches strutting Lion cubs frolicking Lionesses protecting Leopards eating Giraffes stretching Hyenas slinking Birds singing Gazelles grazing Kids waving Women smiling TRULY, MAGICAL KENYA Just back from a marvellous week in Kenya with my husband, out in the open Savannahs of Masai Mara, the lake of Naivasha…

Dubai’s best offbeat food experiences

Think Dubai, and the first image that probably comes to your mind is that of tall buildings in steel and chrome, rising up to touch the skies. And then there is the shopping – sprawling malls where you can get lost for hours, browsing and buying possibly everything under the sun. In the last few…

The mangroves of Pichavaram

After a couple of restful days in Tranquebar, we drive on to Pichavaram, for a look at the second largest mangroves system in India after the Sunderbans (in the world, as some sources claim). Despite this, Pichavaram is literally off the beaten track, seeing less than a hundred visitors everyday. The pier is practically empty…

The land of singing waves

There are many ways to enjoy the monsoon season. My favourite is to sit on an armchair on an open verandah with a cup of masala chai, listening to the pitter patter of raindrops falling on the roof. And if you add to it the music of giant sea waves crashing against rocks on the…

In search of Eden

It was during a long weekend in August that my husband and I decided to head out from our home in Delhi in search of the forbidden fruit. The Eden we had in mind was Thanedar in the hills of Himachal Pradesh. We set off well before dawn, driving on the smooth highway to Chandigarh…