A family on the road to self discovery
 

A Farm of Magical Berries in Rajsamand

We are always on tight schedules when we go to our hometown. Still we have always visited my brother-in-law in Rajsamand. They are perfect hosts and know our weakness very well. Every time we crib about our short visit, they always put forth some wonderful opportunity of visiting an interesting remote place, which we just cannot resist!

Their generosity has pampered us and made us a schnorrer. So true to this noun, meaning “a person who habitually takes advantage of others generosity often through an entitlement”, this time we put forth the condition that we would visit them only if they promise to take us to an agricultural farm. Being nice hosts they happily agreed.

Rachit was keenly interested to visit a farm since long. He always imagined and asked us how the tomatoes, brinjal … grow on plants. Are they so big and red from beginning or what! We also wanted Rachit to appreciate the bounty of fruits and vegetables Mother Nature has bestowed upon us and to avoid the notion that Mother Dairy grows fruits and vegetables in its factory.

A cloudy day in Rajasamand

A cloudy day in Rajasamand

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Flavour of local ferry in Kollam

In my previous post, I wrote about our first day in Kollam without mentioning anything about the town itself. In this post I will start with a few lines on it before going into details of our second day.

Kollam, pronounced as Koilam was previously known as Quilon. It is one of Malabar Coast’s oldest ports situated around seventy-four km north of Thiruvananthpuram and eighty-five km south of Alleppey. This small town sandwiched between sea and Ashtmudi Lake was once the centre of the spice trade that witnessed Roman, Chinese, Arabian and later Portuguese, Dutch and English traders compete for spices and valuable cashew crop. Marcopolo, the great Venetian traveler, who was in Chinese service under Kublai Khan, visited Kollam in around 1293 AD on his return trip from China to Arabia. In his memoir he mentioned that at that time the pepper trade between Kollam and the Chinese largest port was around forty-three loads of Pepper per day. Ibn Batuta, the Moroccan explorer, also visited Kollam in 14th Century.

Ashtamudi Lake, Kollam

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Enticing Munroe Island

The backwaters of Kerala are also known as ‘Venice of the East’. Till we reached Kollam and explored ‘Munroe Island’, I found this labelling quite exaggerated. A visit to the Munroe island changed my opinion.

The Munroe Island
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Double Decker Root Bridge, Cherrapunjee

Here is the link of my first ‘Published in print’ travel story, in Mint on 13.12.2014. It details the trek to the double decker root bridge at Nongriat, Cherrapunjee.

http://www.livemint.com/Leisure/B7MxuqqQM1S2FcD0uqe2OK/Cherrapunjee-Meghalaya-Bridge-over-quiet-waters.html

Trek to Double-decker root bridge, Cherrapunjee, Meghalaya


Backwater cruise from Kottayam to Alleppey

The backwaters of Kerala is a bewildering labyrinth of interconnected waterways, formed as a result of sea-waves creating short barrier across the mouths of rivers flowing down from the Western Ghats range. It is composed of lagoons, lakes, rivers, rivulets, canals, streams and salty seawater. It lies parallel to the Arabian sea-coast of Kerala, has five large lakes interconnected by numerous canals both man-made and natural, and is fed by around thirty-eight rivers. This complex criss-crossing brackish lagoons and lakes, is also the lifeline of the people living around. It is a paradise for the tourists as it gives glimpses of rural Keralite lifestyle that is completely hidden from other modes of transport.

Cruise from Kottayam to Alleppey

Backwaters of Kerala


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A visit to the kingdom of spices in Kumily

While strolling in the market of Kumily, scent of freshly cut spices, sold in every nook and corner of this small town seeds a desire to visit one of the many spice plantations on the outskirts. We contact Sunil, a guide, who promises us a never before experience. As we enter a plantation, the sight of lush green vegetation and the smell of aromatic air sets the expectation of the things to follow.

‘A royal white-carpet welcome to the Kingdom of Spices’.
‘White carpet welcome! We don’t see a carpet, neither we expect one here’.
‘Well, we are a little early. The white carpet is in the process of making’, the guide humbly replies and brings us in front of a rubber tree. A coconut shell is hanging on a short sharp stick. The dripping latex from the tree is collecting in the shell.

Latex getting collected in coconut shells

Rubber tree


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