Posted on Leave a comment

A Heritage View of Goa

  • Divar :

The island of Divar is famous for Bonderam, the festival held on the river island on the 4th Saturday on the month of august. Bonderam means the festival of flags, its high point is a mock battle to commemorate the property wars that took place here over a century ago. Its landmark is its Indo-Portuguese architecture.

  • Safa masjid, Ponda:

This mosque was built by Ibrahim Adil Shah of Bijapur.Adjacent to the mosque is a well constructed masonary tank with small dressing chambers with Mihrab designs.

  • Buddhist Caves, Rivona :

Often called pandava caves, these are actually the few vestiges of Goa’s past Buddhist presence when monks would seek sancity from their austere lives as wandering mendicants and camp in caves for the monsoons. There is an underground cave with a small well too.

  • Petroglyphs at pansaimol, usgalimal, vichundrem, sanguem:

This beautiful site on the bank of the Kushavati river is perhaps one of the earliest expressions of art and culture in Goa. Rock carvings found here are believed to depict symbols of the fertility cult and religious cosmology.

  • Cotigao wildlife sanctuary:

Kuskem waterfalls may be seen in the Cotigao wildlife sanctuary in canacona taluka. You can also see the ruins of ancient temples in this tiny village of Kuskem.

  • Shri Parshuram temple, Painguinim, canacona:

This temple is dedicated to the legendary Vaishnavite deity of Goa. It displays rare endangered Kaavi art.

  • Cabo da Rama, Canaona :

Built by the soundekar kings towards the end of the 16th century, this magnificent monument has a moat, a fantastic view of the and two freshwater tanks. The ramps were meant for elephants and horses. This was locally called Ramachem Bhushir. Later taken over by the Portuguese in 1764, its name was changed to Cabo da Rama.

  • Santana church, Talaulim:

One of the five models after which all the churches and chapels followed suit, this one perhaps is the most fascinating church of all.

  • Mapusa Friday market:

For absolutely fascinating bargains and a slice-of-life in Goa in terms of local produce, visit Mapusa market place on Fridays where you will see dried fish that Goans supplement their diet with during the fishless days of the monsoon.

  • Heritage villages of Goa:

This is a coined term for villages with a fine stock of heritage houses, churches, temples and street furniture. Visit these villages to experience the continuity of Goa’s social and culturl history.

Posted on Leave a comment

Must-try food in Karnataka

Having a bad day? Is your mood off? There is something that can definitely cheer you up! Any guesses to what it would be? Its Food! Indian cuisine is loved by almost everybody all over the world. And talking about Indian cuisine, how could anybody not get excited on hearing “Dosa” and “Idli”!

Among the south Indian cuisine, the food of Karnataka is very diverse. This cuisine is a treat for all vegetarians as Karnataka has higher percentage of vegetarians than other south Indian states. Hold on, not a disappointment for the non-vegetarians. The seafood in the coastal region has the most lip-smacking spices and flavors. As karnataka’s cultural history takes us back through centuries, Karnataka;s food too has a rich and amazing history. Lets go back to learn more about the origin of the most loved and enjoyed dishes of Karnataka.

Neer dosa

Neer Dosa Image source :


Neer dosa literally means water dosa and is true to its name as its ingrediants are only rice flour and salt. Neer dosa is a crepe and is popular for its easy preparation. This is enjoyed all over Karnataka but loved a lot in the region of Udupi. Neer Dosa tastes best with a spicy curry.

Where to find : Vasudev Adigas, Mangalore Pearl, Mtr are among the best places for a neer dosa in Bangalore.




Kane Rava fry

Kane Rava Fry Image source :


Kane rava fry is a dish of fish marinated with spices and covered with semolina (rava ). Kane rava fry is most loved in the coastal region, originating in mangalore. The burst of flavors and spices is a delight and a must try for all sea food lovers.

Where to find : The ocea restaurant, malgudi, hotel regency park.



Bisi bele bath

Bisibelebath image source :


Bisi bele bath literally means hot lentil rice. It is a traditional dish and has a elaborate preparation with the use of spices, vegetables and lentils. This dish is also another gift of the Udupi cuisine but can be found all over Karnataka. It tastes the best when served hot with papad, boondi  or chips.





Kundapura Koli saaru

Kundapura Koli Saaru image source :


Originating from the coastal region, Kundapura chicken curry is packed with spices. It is a rich chicken dish with an abundance of flavors and a must try for all meat as well as spice lovers.

Where to find : Kundapura Express, Natti manae.






Chiroti Image source :


Chiroti is a sweet famous from Karnataka and is a treat to the taste buds with its simple yet mouthwatering flavor. It’s a simple dish to prepare and is most enjoyed during festivals.

Where to find : Halli thindi, Matru sagar.





Ragi Mudde

Ragi mudde image source :

Ragi mudde is a traditional dish of Karnataka, most popular in the rural region. A healthy dish made with  only two ingredients – ragi flour and water. Ragi mudde – bassaru is a popular combination. Bassaru is made from decanted water. There are variations in Bassaru and each one has it’s own unique taste along with ragi mudde. It is almost a daily food of the farming community. Deve Gowda, former Prime Minister of India popularised Ragi mudde by having it prepared and shipped from Karnataka to Delhi.

Where to find : Kritunga Restaurant, Ragi Mudde Mess.




Blog by : Umaima Khan

Posted on Leave a comment

The Nilgiri Tribes

Tribes of the Nilgiri Hills

The Nilgiri hills, a treasure of nature from the beautiful hill stations to the most amazing cultures. Situated between the western ghats, these hills are most popular for their hills stations- Coonoor, Ooty etc, the diversity in flora and fauna and the most amazing tribes. These tribes add more beauty  to the culture of India making it more rich and diverse. Get up close with the tribes and share in their unique cultures and traditions which have been practiced since ancient times. Discover more about the tribes living in the lush and beautiful Nilgiri Hills.





This community is now with the population of approximately 3,00,000 and  forms the largest population of the nilgiri district. Badagas earn their livelihood through agriculture and the major agricultural activity is tea plantation. Apart from this they also plant carrots, beans, cabbages and many more. The houses of the badagas are fascinating as they stand out among the greenery of the nilgiris.  They are famous for their dance and festivities and they do not hesitate to step out and groove. The elaborate funeral cars of the Badagas seem to be survivals of ancient Indian practices in Buddhist India which have been described by Chinese travelers. They continue to be practiced to the present day in Hindu Bali.







This tribe is of special interest to ethnographers and physical anthropologists . The Todas are a pastoral tribe, which means they rear cattle for their living. They live in half-barrel shaped houses which are generally made of mud and bamboos. The Todas are purely vegetarians and consume rice which they get in exchange for milk reared from the buffaloes. Polyandry is practiced among the Todas. This tribe has existed from 5000 BC and believed to be descendants of the Pandavas. They are found only in the Nilgiri hills and have a population of only 1000 as they marry within their tribe.

Explore more :





3- Kurumbas

Traditionally the Kurumbas have subsisted as hunters and gatherers.  Bananas, mangoes, jackfruit, maize, and chilies are the usual garden produce. The houses of the Kurumba tribe are usually constructed with bamboo backbone, grass and mud. The activity for which the Kurumbas are best known has been the provision of sorcery. With the help of herbs, spells, and roots, they can heal any sickness and can also bring sickness or death to their enemy.  Kurumbas are found in the mid-ranges of the nilgiris.




Image source :


The kota tribe is an artisan community with potters, blacksmiths, carpenters etc. .  A few artisans still produce fine hand-carved rifle butts and double-reed instruments. Their language is found to be similar with the dravidian family. The pattern of settlement is believed to have been determined by a cow who led the Kotas through the Nilgiris and stopped in various places to indicate various sites for the Villages.  Sheep raising and beekeeping has also been adopted by the Kotas.  They occupy seven villages widely spread among the hills.







irulas tourmyindiacom
Irula hunters Image source :


The irulas are forest-dwellers and hence they get their name, which literally means “People of the darkness”. They are known for overpowering and taming wild beasts. The Irulas maintain their livelihood by hunting and honey-collecting. They construct their houses with split bamboos. Irulas are the second largest tribe of the Nilgiris after the Badagas. They are also known for their knowledge of herbal medicines. They are mainly found in the eastern and southern part of the hills.

Explore more :

Blog by : Umaima Khan


Posted on Leave a comment

The Monsoon Starts Here

Chasing the Monsoon

The term Monsoon was first used in English in British India, which includes present day’s India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. The Southwest Monsoon winds are called ‘Nairutya Maarut’ in India. The four-month long Monsoon season, which runs from June to September, brings 70% of the country’s annual rainfall.

Southern India in the monsoon is absolutely magnificent places on earth that lures you with her pungent smells, a proud and vibrant culture, lip smacking foods and rich landscape. However, the South West monsoon puts a whole new spin on ‘when it rains it pours’. When the rains hit the Arabian Sea, making inroads into other parts of India, using Kerala as the gateway, you can’t just sit idle. What better way to Enjoy the monsoons than travelling! This monsoon we give You a list of places you could visit in South India and fun things to do.

Meteorological Center image source:



Meteorological Center in Trivandrum

Visit the Meteorological Center here, understand how the monsoon starts, its arrival, its impact and get latest updates on the weather forecast personally.

Explore more:





Kovalam image source


Kovalam Beach

Drive down to Kovalam and enjoy breakfast with the first touch of monsoon. Experience peace and calmness in the afternoon with Yoga and Meditation classes.

Know More :




Trivandrum city image source


Visit the Trivandrum City

Visit the Napier Museum and get an insight on the Mughal and Tanjore art. Get enchanted in the Padmanabhaswamy temple with the Dravidian style architecture and the rich history and mysteries of this temple.

Explore More:





Allepey House  Boat image source

Allepey  House Boat

Enjoy the beauty of the waters to the fullest in the beautiful house boats. Learn more about the maintenance and care of these with the owners. Visit the paddy fields or go Fishing! Enjoy your stay at an island in the backwaters. Visit the Coir museum, a beauty spot on the map of Allepey. Experience life among the chirping of birds in the Pathiramanal Island.





Mussel Cultivation image source


Mussel Cultivation 

Stay at a  resort famous for mussel farming and learn more about the impact of the monsoon on the mussel cultivation. Enjoy the stay at eco-friendly cottages with a treat of fish and mussel dinner.

Explore more:




Barkana Falls Image souce

Cherrapunji of South India

Visit the city of Agumbe – famous for its waterfalls. Get amazed by the beauty of the Barkana falls, as it never fails to fascinate people with its wide variety of flora and fauna. Enjoy the peace n tranquility of the Koodlu Theertha falls as it is situated away from the hustle and bustle of the city life.






The city of Banvasi

An Ancient Royal  Dynasty

Visit the city of Banvasi, It once was the capital of the Kadamba rulers, an ancient royal dynasty of Karnataka. Enjoy it’s pineapples in the Pineapple fete held in the first weekend of every month. Visit the famous Yana Caves which is famous for it two black crystalline limestone formations named as Bhairaveshwara peak and Mohini peak. Also treat yourself with the famous Khanavalis of Banvasi.


Know More:





Jog Falls image source


Get Refreshed in the Jog Falls

Get up close and drenched in the Jog Falls.The monsoon season is the best season to visit Jog falls, as the beauty of the place is enhanced with the hills covered in mist. Ideal place for photographers.

Know More :




St Sebastian Chappel in Fontainhas


Discover the unseen Goa

Drive past the rolling hills and waterfalls and relax  in some less crowded beaches. Visit the local market which showcases some vibrant ingrediants. Learn to cook a new Goan recipe and also visit the less discovered Divar Island or the Fontainhas. Be a part of the Sao Joao Festival on 24th June 2017!

 Explore more :

Blog by : Umaima Khan




Posted on Leave a comment

Chasing the Monsoon in Kerala


Kerala, then you’ve probably been living under a rock.Located North West of Kerala,  just about 16-18 kms from Trivandrum, the capital city of Kerala, Kovalam is a lovely crescent-shaped stretch of beach which actually is a cluster of 3 beaches separated by rock promontories viz.,Lighthouse,Samudra and Hawa beach.

It is here that the famed South Westmonsoons hits India, using Kerala as the gateway, making its way through the Southern states to other parts of this vast country.You’re at Kovalam. Pause. Will it rain or won’t it?

Well, based on the outcome you could decide to:

  • laze languidly under the shelter of a beach shack or get an Ayruvedic massage
  • sip your beer alongwith some mouth watering fried squid or fried fish Kerala style, for company
  • look for bargains at the local shops lining the Lighthouse beach
  • find out the real story behind the name Hawa beach or
  • dash off to the Indian Meterological Observatory located at Thiruvananthapuram (new name meaning, City of Lord Anantha) and check with the rain astrologers (the Met dept. folks) if the rains are “on course”

Going by historical records, the rains have hardly ever strayed beyond 1st week of June.However, if the rains disappoint by not showing up, you can show up at the iconic Sri Padmanabhasamy Temple where Lord Vishnu is found reclining on his serpent and pray fervently. Spoiler alert:adhere to their dress code (yes they can refuse entry if your attire doesn’t meet their criteria, your fervent prayers not withstanding).

Journeying with the rains as it snakes its way across the state to Karnataka, Goa and beyond, is compelling in its beauty, tranquility and urgency. Cue: run out and get drenched, photograph the soft after-rain glow or just hold your breath till your next lush and abundant destination. Metta!

Delicious tidbits:

  • The South West monsoons are known as Edavappathi, after the month of Edavam.
  • The Meteorological Observatory in Trivandrum, one of India’s oldest observatories was started by the Maharaja Swathi Thirunal of Travancore in 1836
  • Prince G V Raja found immense tourism potential and invited Thomas Cook & Sons, UK to develop and promote the region
  • The candy striped Lighthouse is 35 m tall and you can climb to the top for spectacular views
  • Fusion, German Bakery, Swiss Café are where you get some good grub at Kovalam


Kerala and the South West Monsoons –

a match made in the clouds

After Kovalam’s rainy beach and Trivandrum’s good Lord SwamyPadmanabha watching the world go by on his recliner serpent, it’s time to move on to more languid country. So think Vasco da Gama,the spice trade, Travancore kings, Namboothiris, and as your mind meanders, stop and gasp at the magnificence of the Ashtamudi Lake. Inhale. You’re at the gateway to the famed backwaters of God’s Own Country, Alleppey.

As you make your way to backwaters-world, en route you could wrap yourself in acres of paddyfields like a wet sarong on a rainy day. Idyllic, green and wet, this is Kerala’s rice bowl, probably the only place in the worldwhere farming is done below sea level

Kettuvallams wait for experience-seekers patiently, tethered to the pier at Alleppey. As you step into one, you know it’s time to go with the flow. You watch the world go by, wave to the young boys running along the embankment, look up at the sudden flash of avian colour and enjoy the languorous ride.

From Alleppey chase the dark clouds to Kochi, a delightful blend fold-word charm and bustling metropolis. Fort Kochi is a must-see place ideal for rambling and sauntering through its rich historical and cultural heritage. From the peace of the old colonial bungalows experience a different kind of peace in a Namboothiri home in Nilambur. This district is rich in different wooded forests especially teak, housing the world’s first Teak Museum. As you sit in the courtyard of a Namboothiri home with the rains pitter-pattering down, time stands still. Until suddenly…

you see a row of men lining up thepath, beating their drums, and dancers dressed in the most vibrant,eye-popping elaborate costumes and head dresses, dancing in slow rhythmic steps, propitiating the Gods. Watch with awe as these Theyyamdancers perform this ancient dance to worship ancestors, in front of age-old shrines.

After the Theyyam routine, you comeback to earth and chase the rains to Bekal, one of the best preserved forts in Kerala. Located at Kasaragod, this 300-year old fort offers a spectacular view of the Arabian Sea. While in Kasargod, a visit to the oyster farm, OysterOpera, is a must. Listen, see and experience the transformational oyster and mussel farming conducted in this award-winning eco-farm recognized for its innovative methodologies.Yes, it’s time to whip out your travel diary and journal away about this remarkable enterprise accompanied by the warm outpourings from the sky.

As you chase the South West monsoons from one place to the next, enveloping you in perpetual dampness, you are reminded of Coleridge’s Rime of The Ancient Mariner: And now the storm blast came, and he was tyrannous and strong: He struck with his o’ertaking wings, And chased us south along.


a) Paddy fieldsat Kuttanad –

b) Chinesefishing nets at Kochi –

c) Theyyam dance–

d) Bekal fort –

Posted on Leave a comment

Bangalore Sketch Crawl

Sketch crawl in Bangalore

Ever noticed all the things we don’t notice in our routine life? Drive through the same roads everyday and still not notice the stories our city wants to tell us. Sketch Crawl organized by Make it Happen and guided by Nicholas,an architect,enabled us to look at our city, Bangalore,in a way we had never before.

A walk through the noisy and buzzing M.G.road and sketching some of the buildings of Bangalore with historical importance.Sketch crawl is an eye opener as we notice the architectural designs and minute details of the buildings which we’ve seen almost all our life.


Founded by Abel Joshua Higginbotham in 1905,it is one of the oldest bookstores of Bangalore. Above is a sketch of Higginbothams by one of the participant. Each person has their own perspective about the same element and these elements can be made memorable by sketching. Photography helps us capture moments but sketching gets us connected to the places.

Tract and Book Society

The British Book Society building is popularly known today as the Hard Rock Cafe. This building is a prominent structure signifying the architectural designs of the British. In the picture above we can notice the details sketched by our participant. We get to see a whole new image of our same old Hard Rock Cafe as we pay attention to the details and the stories this building holds.

In the sketch crawl,each person has their own perspective about the same element. To one of our participant,Hard Rock Cafe is a reminder of the YMCA song as it’s usually played there.

St.Mark’s Cathedral

Situated in the heart of Bangalore,the Cathedral church has immense details for artists. We visit a church every Sunday,but how many of us take time to notice the minute details our church holds? The Cathedral church holds details which fascinate everytime we look at it. The rich architectural design amazed all the participants and it seemed unfair that the canvas could hold only certain parts of the church. The details made in all the sketches were a proof of the whole new image our participants could see of their same old Church.

Amongst all the hustle in the world today,there are a very few people who still want to keep their hobbies and passions alive and we got a whole bunch of them. A group of fantastic people who were willing to step out on a sleepy Saturday morning to look at the whole new same old city.

More than sketching and knowing our city,what was more important is that we made memories. Just a look at the sketch anytime in the years to come and we’d go back to the same Saturday morning. Perfection isn’t required for a sketch,all we need is for it to hold eternal​ memories.

Blog by : Umaima Khan

Posted on Leave a comment

Goa : Discover The Undiscovered Places


How to live it up in Goa
Let’s see if I can keep the beach references to a minimum. It’s not to say that beaches in Goa aren’t worth visiting – they’re a big draw indeed – but there’s so much more to the Goan experience than just having sand in your feet, hair, trousers…

The Goan society is a melting pot of different identities, and its people have created the quintessential easygoing Goan culture. This “Susegad” lifestyle is rooted, among other things, in the old world charm of their Portuguese colonial structures; in Bebinca, Khatkhate and other exotic cuisines; in the serendipitous bylanes of flea markets; in the churches, spice farms, wildlife sanctuaries, the old forts with fancy names and yes, the beaches. The multi-million dollar tourism industry around Goa’s unique geo & demo-graphy have added to that list as well; so you can experience world class hotels and spas; try out your luck in casinos (gambling is legal here); go kayaking in the serene backwaters; hire a yacht and cruise the sea with your pals; and while you’re still at a beach – do all sorts of surfing, sailing, skiing, diving – as long as you know how to swim! It’s quite clear that the smallest state of India is packing some the biggest fun to be had and here’re some the ways you can go about living it up, Goan style.

Take Cover !
Start by landing in Panaji, the capital city, and take shelter in either a budget friendly world heritage hotel or if you’re feeling adventurous, try out the famed Goan hospitality by staying in someone’s home! Both are located in Asia’s only Latin colony of Fontain has – a satiating treat for the history buffs as the place maintains to this day its Portuguese influence, such as the narrow streets, old villas and buildings painted in lively hues of red and blue. For the fans of room service, the Panjim Inn heritage hotels are the ideal place. These colonial-structures-turned-hotels offer all the trappings of an exotic vacation: period architecture, antique interiors, art galleries and immaculately dressed staff catering to your needs!

Panjim Inn Heritage Hotel

While there is no shame in preferring the pampering of hotels, you can also try out something different in the area – Homestays. Experience the warmness of staying with the host family in the 200 years old “Casa Nova”. Make yourself comfortable in the ancestral house of a legendary anti-Portuguese journalist and dive straight into the stories of the various artefacts which decorate the spacious wooden floored living room. The family lives on the first floor while the ground floor is kept especially for guests in this beautiful house overlooking the Altinho hill and flanked by the creek of Ourem

After checking in to the place of your choice, start your Goan vacation by heading to Old Goa, a 10 minute drive from Fountain has. Check out the imposing churches and cathedrals in the area which are amongst the largest in Asia. Some of the buildings have now become museums, providing a fascinating display of Goa’s history. A must-see is the Basilica of Bom Jesus – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – which contains the preserved remains of Saint Frances Xavier, the patron saint of Goa. The body is shown to the public every 10 years, with the next exhibition due in 2014.

To Paddle or Not to Paddle
Morning will present interesting choices on how you want to continue your sightseeing. For those who’d like to get close to the sights, there’s the joyously paced kayaking. Start early morning with a group of fellow kayakers and paddle through backwaters, mangroves, fishing villages and witness other riverine delights. Everything will be provided for; you just gotta paddle and ogle!

The other option is rather awesome – A personal yacht! Bring up to 27 of your guests and charter the seafaring beauty “Solita” for a cruise on a per hour basis or choose from sample itineraries which includes: Bird watching (real ones!) in Salim Ali Sanctuary; chasing Dolphins around north Goa beaches; sailing further north to the majestic Tiracol Fort; Mandovi river cruise of Panjim & Old Goa; deck dinner under the open sky; and the special overnight cruise for two where you’ll be taken far off-shore and be left alone to your romantic fantasies for the night!

Spices, Dices & Sales
Goa’s tropical climate makes it an ideal place to grow a variety of spices, crops and fruits. The spice farms are open to visitors, with accommodations, and other activities such as elephant or boat rides, offered at many of them. You can take a guided tour, enjoy the scenery, and finish with a spicy lunch fresh off the farm! Most of them are located in Ponda, the Savoi Plantation being the most popular.

The Goan night markets are very popular and for those who like the bustle of the bazaar while hunting for bargains or souvenirs, Mackie’s Nite Bazaar and Saturday Nite Market is the place to be on Saturdays. Handcrafted accessories, live music, massage and hair parlours, belly dancing and even magic wands; all sorts of wonderful things are up for grabs.

The more suave and deep pocketed among us would love to play Bond at high stakes gambling games in one of the many casinos here. The Deltin Royale is Goa’s largest and most popular casino; located on a huge ship anchored in the Mandovi River. It has five decks, and three floors spread over 12,000 square feet, with 50 gaming tables, 30 slot machines, and top level tournaments every week.

Life is A Beach

Life Is A Beach

Well, I tried: You just can’t leave out beaches from a travel article, it’s Goa after all! You did well in checking out the various other attractions of Goa instead of just scurrying to the beach first! So now, convinced that you’re not the average traveller, head over to one of the many beaches and discover the unique personality each one has. There’re the quiet ones – Agonda & Patnem; The home of the hippies and flea market – Anjuna; The wild ones – Baga, Calangute & Palolem; The lively one – Candolim, and several others. The characteristic beach club/shacks offers the eclectic mix of good food, alcohol, live music and disco by the seaside. Curlies in Anjuna, Tito’s and Mambo’s in Baga, La Plage in Ashvem and Horizon Grill in Candolim (arguably serving the best steaks in the state). An event not to miss is the annual Sunburn Festival on Candolim beach. The festival is a celebration of music, entertainment, food and shopping, and was ranked as the ninth best festival in the world by CNN in 2009.

If night life on the beaches is exciting, water sports during the day is just the fix for adrenaline junkies! The Dona Paula beach specializes in water sports activities and offers water-scooter rides, windsurfing, parasailing, water-skiing, skibob, fishing, snorkelling, and scuba diving.

The Goa Marriott Resort & Spa in Miramar beach is good place to end your vacation: they say vacation refreshes the soul; spoiling yourself with a spa certainly ensures that!


Sunburn Festival
Posted on Leave a comment

Monsoon Festivities of Goa

Goa-drenched – unusual Goa in the rains

Goaaaaah in the rains. It is a story that must be lived and experienced first hand. It is time to lift the veil of the monsoons and discover what lies beneath. Welcome to Goa!Goa has a hitherto unexplored facet beyond the usual sun, sea and sand, one that whispers history, culture and of a people deeply traditional yet straddling modernity with ease. As you come in from Kerala chasing the South West monsoons, make a pit stop in Karnatakath and head to Goa, you revel in the air that is noticeably happier perhaps and brimming with covert excitement.

Towards the end of June every year, the Goans celebrate the ‘son-in-laws’ of the village. Yes, you heard right! Young people wearing “copels” or floral crowns celebrate the “Javoiache” (meaning son-in-law)
or the “San Jao” festival with gaiety and gusto. As you cheer and shake a leg or take a swig of the “feni”, the local cashew or coconut based-alcohol, steer towards the Latin Quarters or Fontainhas of Goa.

Impeccably maintained, this part of Goa harks back to a Portuguese past, managing to survive despite the onslaught of 21st century. Buildings built in classic Portuguese style dressed in yellow, green or blue with balconies fronted by wrought iron railings and tiled roofs transport you to another era.

From Portuguese style houses time to make room for some sumptuous forts. One among them being Terekhol, standing sentinel to a violent history of the land it was built to protect. Built by the Raja of Sawantwadi, this magnificent 18th century fort is a heritage hotel today, with a beautiful chapel within its precincts.

From tradition to heritage to history to island, yes it’s time to head to Divar. Just take the ferry from Old Goa, about 7 kms from Panaji and step onto Divar island, a little gem of old world charm, paddy fields, small houses, winding roads, tinkling of cycle bells and boys playing football in the rains.

Soak it all in. Cycle. Walk. Sip feni, eat some vindaloo or chicken xacuti. Listen to some Mando, old Konkani songs and let Goar rains seduce you. It’s time to do a rain dance in Goaaaah!

Posted on Leave a comment

Distinct Cuisine and Rich Cultural Heritage

Chasing the Monsoon
The perfect monsoon recipe – waterfalls, heritage, food and beaches of Karnataka.

Karnataka is endowed with amazing beaches, distinct cuisine and a rich cultural heritage and natural splendor.As you drive down from Kasaragod in Kerala to Udupi in Karnataka, you can read up on this coastal city’s riveting back story on how it got its name. Udupi is steeped in culture and boasts of lip smacking Udupi foods like idlis, vadas and golibaje and beautiful beaches that you can soak in, in Udupi as Udupi soaks in the rains.

Further up, North of Udupi, stop by at Banavasi. Not a regular on most tourist maps, this little gem of a destination is an atypical spot, casting its spell on you with its ancient architecture and bucolic lifestyle.

Banavasi has something for the historians, architecture buffs, and for those seeking something unique. A monthly pineapple fete is held on the first weekend of every month where a group of women cook up a veritable pineapple storm. Don’t forget to try the local “khanavalis”, or small local cafes that serve hot, delicious food with a dose of warmth, generosity and love.As you bid adieu to Banavasi, it’s time to let your jaws drop at the sight of Jog. Jog Falls are the tallest single tiered cascade in India. Get up close, personal and wet and sprayed as you slowly and carefully climb down the 1380 steps to the base of the waterfalls, or get a view from the old British bungalow across the road. Its sight cannot leave you unmoved, as the 4 falls Raja, Roarer, Rocket and Rani spill the Sharavathi river over the mountainside in a breathtaking spectacle of Mother Nature at work.

As you watch the folk dance Dollukunitha being performed in the night, hear the thud of cymbals, feel your heart pound in tandem, you feel truly blessed as Mother Nature showers you with her benevolence.