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STYLED | Mcleodganj

By August 13, 2015 Style, Travel

Last month, while strolling through the verdant hills of Mcleodganj,  I found myself in the most unfamiliar of situations. Camera pointed straight at me and not a soul around—how rare is that? Taking full advantage of the solitude and the blissful mood that followed, we decided to snap a few pictures of what I wore on this spectacular holiday. Granted, what started off as a spur-of-the-moment session turned into a full blown dramatic shoot with abandoned roads and broken benches as backdrops. But, with props like these, who am I to complain. :)

I almost always pack easy-to-carry clothes for any vacation. The less space my clothes take, the more room for souvenirs (and food!). My go-to holiday style is loose, airy and comfortable, with a few accessories to tie the look together. I am in love with hats these days. This one was rather cheap and perfect for the afternoon sun.
















What’s your go-to holiday style? I’d love to know!

Photographs: Arzan Antia

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Thailand | The Video

By July 29, 2015 Travel

Monumental trips are rare and cherished. In 2013, I packed my bags and set off on what would eventually be the memorable trip of my lifetime. This was my first trip solo, my first trip abroad and my first trip paid solely with my own money. What a journey!

You can read all about it over here.

Here is a video looking back at most of my crazy moments!


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Romancing the Clouds in Mcleodganj

By July 23, 2015 Travel

The first thing that hits you strong, the moment your bus ascends the hills, is the crisp, pine-fresh air. The magnificent vistas of the Dhauladhar mountains overwhelm your senses just as the quaint, secluded town of Mcleodganj pops into view. As you’re sitting, cross-legged, on the edge of a mountain, hair drenched thanks to a chilling waterfall, you realise that the simplest joys in life are good company and a hot tea.





We stayed in a tiny little hotel, devoid of city noises and nestled somewhere on the pass between Mcleodganj and Dharamkot. Most nights, you’d find us lounging around in plastic chairs on the balcony, feet perched atop the ledge and conversations fuelling the fire.

Our first day there was spent walking through criss-crossing pathways, eyes transfixed on the array of colours on display. Flowers, prayer flags, multi-hued houses, clothes—everything in Mcleodganj had a colour of its own. We devoured fried momos, sifted through quaint shops, spotted charming houses nestled in the weirdest of places, and spun the Tibetan prayer wheels like the giddiest of tourists at the Dalai Lama Monastery.




Thanks to Bhagsu’s German Bakery, our second day began with a belly full of sinful breakfast and a cinnamon roll to-go. Throwing caution to the wind, we made a resolve to trek up to the picturesque Triund—a resolve that did take us halfway and back. Our trek, or what we did manage to do, was one that no pictures or words can do justice to. We walked a pathway slightly damp from the morning drizzle and devoid of any minute movement. Conversations became whispers as we carried on and before you know it, the clouds roared and it came down to pour. The feeling of trekking through the rain— with the crisp air hitting you hard on your face and nothing but snow-capped mountains in view—is like no other. Come hailstorm and we hitched a cab ride back to our hotel.





We stopped by Trek and Dine twice during our journey. Wood fired pizzas, mango juice and a banana chocolate cake make for the perfect way to cosy up and refuel. Most mornings, we’d walk past the post office in town and land up at the Tibet Bakery. We sampled everything from chocolate danish rolls and muffins to olive bread, cinnamon rolls—accompanied with conversations about yak cheese.


On our last day here, amongst other adventures, we did manage to walk down to the famous Bhagsu Waterfall. Instead of following the tourist path, we stepped down from the walkway and made our way past a tiny tea stall to the foot of the waterfall. I really wish I had pictures of us sitting around a rock with our feet dipped in ice-cold water. Sadly, I did not bring along a camera and my phone gave up on me last week taking with it all the visual memories of that place. We’ll just have to revisit our private waterfall.





Here, we held hands, took meandering walks through the clouds and gazed endlessly at snow-capped mountains. I’m pretty sure soon, we’ll be back.

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Hypnotic Jaipur

By March 25, 2015 Travel

As I stepped down from our intercity bus, only moments after the sun had woken, what I wasn’t prepared for was the shocking culture overload of India’s vibrant pink city. Eager to escape the madness in Delhi, we decided pack our bags and take the bus out to the first destination that had hotels available! And lo and behold, Jaipur it turned out to be. As soon as our bus slowed down slightly, the full effect of a chaotic, overflowing city started to hit me. Jaipur was hypnotic in all senses.

Day one saw us passed out well until the sun had almost retired. Not one to waste the last remnants of the day, we hopped onto a rickshaw and preceded to chase the setting rays up till the majestic Nahargarh Fort that sits comfortably atop a ridge overlooking the city. At every turn and bend, my heart was sold. The crisp, cool air combined with a musty mountain smell and the slow ruffling of leaves—I could sit here and stare into nothingness all day. Nahargarh was as breathtaking as every book had mentioned it would. Climb the highest point of the fort, drag one of the few metal chairs to the edge, get your hands on a cup of coffee and watch the hypnotic, twinkling city slowly fall asleep.

Jaipur’s colourful streets ebb and flow with activity and madness, even on a Sunday. We navigated the city next day, making our way through speeding busses, dawdling camels, buzzing auto-rickshaws and a never ending stream of tourists. Shopping is addictive here. You tell yourself that you won’t really need the new shoes or the silk stole, but the affordable prices and luring colours convince you otherwise.

Hawa Mahal and City Palace were our next stops, destinations that didn’t really excite me as much. I found myself stuck in between more than a dozen people screaming and pushing. Not a good mix for those who tend to get claustrophobic.

A not so short ride later, we found ourselves facing Jaipur’s star attraction, the Amber Fort. Just out of sight, in the arid hill country surrounding the city, the fairy-tale grandeur of this fort beckons. Make sure you put on your walking shoes and ditch that jacket or sweater before you arrive here. Two things that I obviously did not do! Well, the sweaty look always did suit me.

Not in a hurry to head anywhere, we stopped at every climb, every turn and every tree that fascinated us. The views are breathtaking once you reach the palace/fort. From here, we decided to brave the steep and arduous climb towards Jaigarh fort, waayyyy up over there. I wish I could say I succeeded, but half an hour into the journey and my lungs were about to die. Elegant.

I do wish we had a few more days to full understand the city better. But from the little acquaintance we managed to have, Jaipur has definitely managed to make me feel like royalty.

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A Guide to Dehradun

By May 29, 2014 Travel
The faint traces of my childhood linger silently in every room of my grandmother’s house. Every trip back is like peaking into a box full of memories—some bittersweet and some plain silly. 
I’d obviously sound biased when I say my favourite travel destination is Dehradun, it being my second home. The maze-like lanes, the sound of hawkers at ghanta ghar, the lazy afternoons spent rocking back and forth on a chair in the verandah and the sweet nostalgic love of my grandmother—all these are a testament to my attraction to this city. 
We started off early morning at around 5, the earliest we have left ever. And a 5 ½ hour sleepy drive later we were in Dehradun, ready to kick off the weekend! Trains are usually the best mode of transport for those going to the city, however for those who cannot find tickets last moment (or those who love the roads), driving is a great alternative since the roads are pretty decent and relatively empty if you leave early morning.
There isn’t a lot to do in the city. Most of our days were spent lazing around reading a book or concocting something new to eat. As per the recommendation of the mighty internet and inputs from my lovely grandmother we spent a rather relaxed and beautiful evening at a restaurant called Orchard. Sitting on an open balcony and overlooking the lush green valley is exactly what this place offers. Don’t expect too much from the food, since I think the place is famous more for its views than the food. 
Our second (or third?) day there saw us heading up the winding road and into the tourist hub of Mussorie. And when I say winding, I really do mean winding. Offering stunning views of the green Doon Valley and the distant white-capped Himalayan peaks, Mussoorie is about 34 km from Dehradun. You can walk up and down the famous Mall road, stop by at street shops and haggle for junk jewellery and touristy hats. There are multiple cafes that line the road, some old-school snack joints and some kitschy and fun like Chick chocolate. I personally did not go to this one but the ambience was thoroughly intoxicating and inviting. 

Next, we headed up (or decided to head up) to the highest point in Mussorie, called Lal Tibba. Beware. The road is awfully winding and I was forever gripping the seat, my heart ready to jump out of my body. We stopped for snacks at a shop called Char Dukaan and after a plate of waffles and maggi decided that this was it. We were officially through with heart-stopping adventures.

Next time, i’ll make sure I am prepared for the drive up and down.

On a good day, you can also visit The Mindrolling Monastery and get lost in the silence.

More adventures await as I visit Dehradun again.
Till next time!

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