Tea Tasting at Margaret’s Deck, Kurseong

February 15, 2017 12 comments

Tea Tasting at Margaret’s Deck

Goodricke’s Margaret Hope Tea Estate, Kurseong

See also: Maragaret’s Deck FAM

If you are cold, tea will warm you; if you are too heated, it will cool you; if you are depressed, it will cheer you; if you are exxcited, it will calm you.

William Gladstone, former Prime Minister of United Kingdom

My first stint with Tea Tasting happened at the Goodricke office in Kolkata. I remember tasting several version and trying to distinguish between the different tastes and flavoures.

 Margaret's Deck, Goodricke Tea Pot, Kurseong

Margaret’s Deck, Goodricke Tea Pot, Kurseong

But I always wanted to have a tea tasting experience at the heart of chai country. The opportunity again came from Goodricke, with MSL Group as the public relation partner.

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Sagar Talao Group, Mandu, Madhya Pradesh (MP)

January 27, 2017 2 comments

Sagar Talao Group, Mandu, MP

Malik Mughith’s Mosque, Caravan Sarai, Dai ka Mahal, Dai ki Chhoti  Bahen ka Mahal and Unknown Tomb

Also see: Familiarization (FAM) Tour of Madhya Pradesh (MP)

Sagar Talao, the largest lake in the Citadel of Mandu is located on the southern part of Mandu. Along the eastern banks of the lake are several monuments, which are clubbed together as the Sagar Talao Group.


A panoramic view of the Malik Mughith’s Mosque, Sagar Talao Group, Mandu, Madhya Pradesh (MP)

North of the Sagar Talao Group is the Darya Khan Group and further south is the Rewa Kund Group (see: map).

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Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival (AKLF) 2017, Heritage Tour on the River Ganges

January 20, 2017 5 comments

Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival (AKLF) 2017

Heritage Tour on the River Ganges

The Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival (AKLF), created by the Oxford Bookstores, happens to be India’s only  literary festival created by a bookstore. AKLF also happens to be the fist literary festival of Kolkata.


Grand view of Howrah Bridge, Hooghly River Heritage Cruise, AKLF 20017

On 6 Jan 2017 the 8th edition of the Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival (AKLF) kicked off with a Heritage Tour of the River Ganges. I was invited, along with a host of fellow travel bloggers, to attend the Heritage Cruise  by Candid Communications, media partner of AKLF.

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Jillian Haslam, under the stairs to Entrepreneur, Author and Motivational Speaker

December 29, 2016 2 comments

The story of Jillian Haslam

From living under the stairs to Entrepreneur, Author and Motivational Speaker

It was almost mid night of Christmas Eve and Santa Clause, accompanied by a Anglo Indian lady, was giving gifts to the street kids in Kolkata.


Jillian Haslam and Santa Clause with a street kid in Kolkata

Nothing much unusual and Kolkata. The city has seen many such foreign charity. But there was a twist in this in this charity!!! The lady who accompanied the smartly dressed Santa Cause, has spent are childhood in Kolkata.

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Rajwada, Maheshwar Fort, Abode of Ahilya Bai

December 21, 2016 Leave a comment

Rajwada, Maheshwar Fort, Madhya Pradesh (MP)

Abode of Ahilya Bai

Also see: Familiarization (FAM) Tour of Madhya Pradesh (MP)

Ahilya Bai is second to none in valour, sagacity and eminence. Nobody can equate her in these matters.

Nana Phadnavis

Statue of Ahilyaa Bai, Rajwadaa, Maheshwar Fort

Statue of Ahilyaa Bai, Rajwadaa, Maheshwar Fort

The massive Maheshwar Fort stands on hill overlooking the Narmada River on the south. The stupendous walls of the Maheshwar Fort rises straight out of the Narmada River to a height of more than 30 meters.

The Maheshwar Fort dates back to antiquity and there are no clear evidence of its first construction. The fort as we see today was conceived during the reign of Ahilya Bai Holkar (1767 – 95).

Ahilya Bai, was the daughter in law of Malhar Rao Holkar, the founder of Hindu Maratha dynasty of Holkar, who ruled central India from Indore.

Ahilya Bai was born in 1725 in the village of Chondi in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra. Her father was Mankoji Shinde, a village chief. Unusual for the time he tought her daughter to read and write.

According to legend one day Malhar Rao Holkar, while passing through the village of Chondi spotted the 8 year old Ahilya Bai.

Pleased with her beauty and personality he brought her home as a bride for her son Malhar Rao Holkar. They were married in 1733. Ahilya Bai become a widow in 1754, when her husband Malhar Rao Holkar, died during the siege of Kumbher.

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Fanush Making Workshop, revival of a lost art

December 16, 2016 4 comments

Fanush Making Workshop, revival of a lost art

Bholanath Dham, Beadon Street, Kolkata

Also see: My compilation on Fanush, paper made hot air balloons

In recent years Fanush (ফানুস, also spelt as Phanush or Phanus) has become an integral part of Kolkata’s Kali Puja celebrations. With the fast spreading concept of noise less Diwali, the fanush or the Chinese Lanterns have taken the night skies, of Kolkata, in large numbers.

Mentors and participants of the Fanush making workshop at Bholanath Dham

Mentors and participants of the Fanush making workshop at Bholanath Dham

In recent years several Fanush Festivals are organized in different parts of the city, where thousand of sky lanterns have taken the skies. Although the Chinese Lanterns are making a rapid progress in the skies of Kolkata, but Fanush have been an integral part of North Kolkata culture for over a century.

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Birding Tour along Sikkim’s Silk Route

December 7, 2016 2 comments

Birding Tour along Sikkim’s Silk Route

Birding Trip for a non Birder

Also see: Familirazation (FAM) tour of the Birding Trail of East Sikkim

It was a hot summer afternoon in a cafe in Salt Lake, Kolkata, I was having a discussion with Siddhartha of Wandervogel Adventures on my future blogging projects. As the discussion progressed Siddhartha briefed me about Wandervogel Adventure’s next trip to Sikkim a Birding Trip along the Silk Route of Sikkim. 

Group Photo, Birding Trail of East Sikkim, in front of Mangaldeep Resort & Hotel (Photo Courtesy: Dilip Raj Pradhan)

Group Photo, Birding Trail of East Sikkim, in front of Mangaldeep Resort & Hotel (Photo Courtesy: Dilip Raj Pradhan)

The briefing was soon complete and to my utter surprise Siddhartha invited me to join the Birding Trail of East Sikkim. Wild life tours and photography has never been cup of tea and joining a group on experienced birders on a birding trail is the last thing I imagined.

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