6 best Indian forests for tiger spotting

Tiger spotters in India have cause for jubilation this year. After years of depressing reports about poaching, shrinking habitats and overall alarming reduction in the number of tigers in India, there is finally good news. The latest tiger census, completed towards the end of 2014, shows a 30% increase in numbers from the last census…

Food for thought

“Food is music to the body; music is food to the heart,” Gregory David Roberts wrote in Shantaram, his 2003 novel commended by many for its vivid portrayal of life in Mumbai, where the Australian former heroin addict and bank robber lived for 10 years as a fugitive. But while Bollywood has long included music…

Pearl of the south

As I hand over the small fee to climb up to the top of Charminar, the iconic four-sided tower of Hyderabad, the woman at the counter shakes her head in refusal. “We don’t allow single women to go up alone,” she says. And why please? “Because they jump from there and commit suicide.” Mind you,…

Mango mania in India

Here is an idea to spice up a dull summer morning: find two Indians, put them together in a room and ask for their opinion on the best mango in India. Leave them a while, then bring in two more. Sit back and watch the fun. Indians may agree on other things, on rare occasions,…

The hills are alive

In Salzburg, there are two kinds of people; those who love the movie and those who absolutely abhor it. And oh yes, there is a third type: those who make a living from it. Like the guys at Panorama Tours with whom I am all set to take a Sound of Music tour around the…

Of Kipling and goblins

The petite Indian city of Bundi has played muse to artists – most famously, writer Rudyard Kipling, photographer Virginia Fass and poet Rabindranath Tagore – but it has managed to deflect the prying eyes of the tour groups and backpackers. They have come, seen and conquered the rest of Rajasthan – pink Jaipur, blue Jodhpur…

Goodbye Chutney, Hello Soy Sauce!

I am now on a panel of columnists writing the Cityscope column from different world cities for the Sunday Post magazine of South China Morning Post. I have written a couple of pieces for them already – nothing yet on travel but that is on the cards. The column looks at lifestyle, food, arts, pop…