• Air Arabia Airlines

    Air Arabia Mumbai – Sharjah

    Flying to international destinations from Tier 2 cities in India is a pain in the neck. You need to fly to the nearest metro with an international...

  • Solo Travel

    Solo Travel

    In my recent long distance travels whilst returning home by train the gentleman next seat asked me what took me to Kannur? “I was keen to explore...

  • A Chettinad House

    Chettinad doors to a faded glory

    An edited version of this article was published in the February’15 issue of  Travel + Leisure India and Southasia magazine as Chettinad’s treasure chest   A beautiful Kolam...

  • Sunset in Arabian Sea

    Goa paint me Red

    An edited version of this article was published in the Feb’15 Vistara in-flight magazine. The waves lapped at my feet as the golden disc slipped down the...

  • Kingswear

    In love with Devon

    An edited version of this article was published in Travel + Leisure India and South Asia magazine (December’14) It was my second trip to United Kingdom after...

  • Dandeli Paddy Fields

    Dandeli Diaries – memorable experiences

    Dandeli had been my abode for three days and I had enjoyed every moment of it. Three years back I had visited Dandeli but then it was just...

  • Borough Market

    Borough Market for the Global Cuisine

    I climbed the stairs to step out of London Bridge’s tube station.  A cold draught blew in and I zipped my jacket. It indicated I was getting...

  • A perfect landing

    Balloon Safari – Romancing the sky

    I woke up at dawn and got ready for the safari of my life. Have you ever been part of the limitless azure sky with white puffs...

  • Travel

    How Traveling Changes your Life

    This post appeared in Women’s Web Traveling is the tonic for life that keeps the soul replenished. Every moment brings in a new perspective to the journey...

The rains and the humid weather of Goa didn’t deter the spirit of the girls who had travelled from across India to play friendly football matches at the Duler Football Stadium in August 2017. They were upbeat and kicked up to learn new techniques from international coaches, make new friends and of course Bend it like Beckham. It was a week-long football festival organized by Discover Football with friendly matches and workshops for the girls who were determined to get the most out of this event.

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Flying to international destinations from Tier 2 cities in India is a pain in the neck. You need to fly to the nearest metro with an international airport which eats into your travel time both ways. Flying directly from your city has its advantages that ensures your journey is comfortable and you also save time.

Air Arabia a low cost airline flies from numerous destinations in India – Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode, Kochi, Coimbatore,Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Nagpur, Jaipur, Goa and Ahmedabad apart from the metros – Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi.

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City life sort of bogs you down with the daily humdrum and cacophony. The rush after the day’s back to back work be it personal or professional gets on to you and you are soon pulled into the swirls of this never ending whirlpool. One forgets to sit, relax and enjoy the simple pleasures of life that surrounds you.

So when I bumped into the opportunity of getting away from the urban life and staying for few days amidst rural surroundings I immediately took on to it. One balmy Friday I made my way to Phaltan around 2.5 hours by road from Pune.

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Forests are the lungs of our eco system. So very true and apt. I had read this signboard on one of my trips to virgin Valparai. Nature is indeed god’s gift that needs to be cherished, loved and replenished time to time.  Make mention of forests and Pollachi does strike a chord. I frequent this small town on the foothills of Anamalai every year as it’s my husband’s hometown. Over the years in these whirlwind trips apart from meeting up with relatives I have visited Valparai and Top Slip. With a vast green cover, wild life and pleasant weather Pollachi has always reinvigorated me. Waking up to the fresh morning air as the palm trees dance to the tunes of the cool breeze,  watch the peacocks strutting around the fields and then go on a long drive through the canopy of trees into the hinterlands as streams gurgle and nature is bountiful. Pollachi has always been the place to recharge my sapped soul from the city. Read More

A lone pachyderm stood swaying his tusk and grazing around. I stopped the car and gazed at him. I remembered someone telling me an elephant who roamed all alone was considered dangerous. I wondered if this one would go rampant but soon spotted company behind the tall bushes. They looked great as a group. I was passing through the Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary from Bandipur to the land of tea, coffee, rubber and spices called Wayanad in Kerala.

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“Thattekad yetti”, murmured Sabu from the driver seat hinting that we have neared my destination in the local parlance. Groggily I scanned the dark surroundings from the confines of the car. We had left the traffic of Kochi late evening when the sky had opened up and I had unknowingly sunken into my languor. As I entered my room in the homestay I found a lone framed photograph of three unappealing birds captioned as the Ceylon Frogmouth perched on the table. Later over dinner I noticed pictures of this grey brown bird adorning the wall of every room in the guesthouse. Read More

The ICE (Intercity Express) whizzed through the countryside as we left the tall buildings of Munich behind. The landscape had changed dramatically and the bucolic surroundings were very similar to the ones that I had watched in the Bollywood movies. There were hints of red and yellow announcing the onset of autumn and the cattle festival called Viehscheid.  The decorated livestock descent from their summer alpine pastures is celebrated across the high altitude region of Germany and Austria as Viehscheid.  Across my seat a septuagenarian whose looks wouldn’t give his age gave me some company as he conversed between his catnaps. A resident of Berlin, he was on his way to a village close to Innsbruck to retrieve his broken down campervan.

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Reaching Vienna hadn’t been easy with the refugee crisis situation in Europe. When I had approached one of the BAHN officials in Augsburg, Germany for getting my European East Pass activated he immediately said, now is not the right time to visit Austria as trains aren’t running on a daily basis. My heart sank despite the fact that I was on my way to the Oktoberfest. I reached out to the officials in the Munich train station. As I stood in the English speaking queue an officer with a demeanour that stated his position moved towards me. I recounted my travel plans and woes of not being able to visit Austria. Without blinking an eyelid he responded “I am not sure who gave you this information but there is indeed no issue in travelling to Innsbruck or Vienna by train. If my twenty eight year old daughter asked me I would gladly give her permission to travel, it is perfectly safe. Currently trains have been stopped only between Munich and Salzburg”.

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“Are we in Europe?” exclaimed one of the tourists. I looked around and sighted the narrow cobbled lanes with cyclists zipping down the alleys. The vast expanse of a lake shimmered in the sunlight as newlyweds were busy getting their photo shoot done. In the distance I could see a swathe of mist which had enveloped a mountain that looked like a lady sprawled in a dream.

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An edited version of this article was published in Happy Trips  (Times Internet)

Macau, the gambling capital is well known for its gaming scene but not many know about the wide variety of cuisines that one gets to savour in this little region. Once a Portuguese colony, today this Special Administrative region of China has strong influences of both these cultures. One can savour a varied platter of Portuguese, Cantanese and Chinese cuisines when in Macau. Macau is continuously expanding by reclaiming land from sea. It is made up of the Macau peninsula and two islands Taipa, Coloane which are connected by landfill called Cotai. Here are some of the restaurants in Macau which are a must visit.

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