Quiet flows the Lidder

It turns out that the best way to enjoy Pahalgam is to stay away from Pahalgam. No, I am not suggesting for a moment that anyone skip this most picturesque area in Kashmir. But the best – perhaps the only – way to enjoy it is to stay outside, as I do. On a recent…

Friday photo: Vada Pav

As my teeth sank into the soft cloud of pav and the crispy vada, it was almost as if I was biting into the original taste of Mumbai. It was a perfect contrast of tastes and textures: the chewy blandness of the pav acting as a foil to the piquant crunchiness of the vada. A…

Past continuous: a peek into Bikaner

Not many people know this, but Bikaner’s story began with a runaway prince. Rao Bika, the eldest son of Maharaja Rao Jodha from the neighbouring kingdom of Jodhpur left his father—and crown—in a huff in the late 15th century to seek his own fortunes and set up a kingdom with his own name. What he…

A vegetarian food pilgrimage in Israel

Almost two centuries ago, French gourmand Jean Brillat-Savarin wrote, “Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are.” In all my travels, nowhere has this been truer than in Israel, as I find out during a recent whirlwind trip. While there is a lot of cuisine in common across the places…

The magic of Machu Picchu

Just over eighteen months ago I stood in front of Machu Picchu, taking in the magnificence of this 15th century Incan citadel. Like the voices around me attested breathlessly, it was a dream come true for me too. When I look back at the photographs from this fabulous trip to Peru, one of the images…

Sometimes, curd is all you need for breakfast

We are still bleary-eyed as our car makes its slow progress through the streets in Sri Lanka’s south. Our flight landed at an ungodly hour in the morning, and my husband and I are headed from Colombo’s international airport to Yala National Park. The streets are empty, the dozens of villages dotted along the stretch…

Switzerland’s secret cherry liqueur

I shut my eyes to enjoy the sensation of the Röteli going down my throat. The flavours of the Swiss cherry liqueur are new to me, somewhat spicy, somewhat tart, and thoroughly delightful. It is a warm summer evening in Chur, the capital of the Grisons or Graübunden canton in the eastern part of the…

A perfect weekend in Ooty and Coonoor

Just a two-hour drive from Coimbatore lies the Nilgiris, also known as the Blue Mountains. Its heart is the hill station of Ooty – an anglicised abbreviation of Udhagamandalam – which is a bustling small city. In contrast, the nearby district of Coonoor offers beautiful heritage buildings and verdant surrounds. Sample both worlds with this…