My food odyssey at Suryagarh

Continued from my earlier post on the Suryagrah experience… As George Bernard Shaw famously said, “There is no sincerer love than the love of food.” And at Suryagrah, one of the most prominent ways in which they show their love for their guests is through the food. Every meal here is a ritual, a celebration…

The golden glow of Suryagarh, Jaisalmer

My Suryagarh experience began right from the moment I stepped out of the small airport at Jaisalmer. Our chauffeurs welcomed us with refreshing cold towels, water bottles, and delicious small bites of namkeen – just the perfect way to end a long flight from Bangalore, via Jaipur. Having stayed at the opulent Narendra Bhawan, their…

Smooth sailing on Poovar

While in India’s southern tip, a cruise on the backwaters may be de rigueur. But given how popular Kerala is as a tourist destination, it is also a good idea to eschew the familiar for the unexplored. In other words, think Poovar instead of Alleppey, using Trivandrum as a base instead of Kochi. It is…

Lepakshi: stories in stone

Lepakshi welcomes visitors with a giant Nandi statue on the main road, a granite monolith 4.5 metres high and 8.2 metres long, with intricate carvings all over. Like the main temple itself, this statue was built during the reign of King Achutaraya in the mid 16th century, and harks back to the majesty of the Vijayanagara empire. The…

A handy guide to Meghalaya

Meghalaya, meaning “abode of the clouds” must be one of the most evocative place names in India. The name for this northeast Indian state is apt, given that Meghalaya is home to Cherrapunji, long known as being the wettest place on earth (almost matched by its neighbour Mawsynram). Here is an easy Meghalaya itinerary around…

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…

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…

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…