Tag: travel tips

Mera Mumbai Meri Jaan

by Akshay

My travel resolution of 2016 is to live & explore the place where I born!


Mumbai is like a NewYork of Our india, it’s the city of Dreams & the city which never sleeps. It depicts the place that is always up and about, a city with a spirit of gold and a determination to never say die, even in the wake of terrorist attacks and natural calamities. Mumbai boasts of a population of about 100 million. There is an extensive network of flights from Mumbai’s Sahar (International) and Santa Cruz (Domestic) airports. International and domestic flights connect it to almost all major cities. Trains are available from all major stations of India. The Intra city trains are the fastest and the best way of commuting through the city. Bus services both inter and intra city are equally efficient.

We Mumbaikars represent the true spirit of India as this city is a crucible of people from different religions, caste and communities. Representative of the “never say die” spirit, these people are full of life and vigour Food is the highlight of this city. Chaupati beach offers one a wide variety of street food ranging from bhelpuri (puffed rice mixed with onions, chillies and sauces), panipuri (puffed puris filled with sprouts and potatoes), vada pav (a deep fried cutlet made of potatoes in a round shaped bread) and paw bhaji (vegetables eaten with round shaped bread). Desserts of this place include chikki, srikhand, puran poli and shira.

The home of the Indian Film Industry, one has to visit the Gateway Of India, the central attraction of the city, important because this is where the British left Independent India As per my observations if you’re living in India then there things which would be mutual among every indian that is FOOD,BOLLYWOOD & CRICKET. so in case if anyone doesn’t like Bollywood then he must be in love with food or cricket. Mumbai is famous in these three things food which kind of variety we don’t have it in our Mumbai ,main thing you must be having enough money to taste every variety.

Directly or indirectly money matters, your life will ditch if you are not rich! That’s the main reason why Mumbai doesn’t sleep people now to earn & they know how much money should be used where and for what. I had visited 27 historical places in Mumbai still few are remaining. There are many cities in India which are developing up few of them like surat & bangalore etc but still Mumbai is like a king of cities in India.

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A Visit To Taj

It was a beautiful morning with the sun glaring in my eyes and the first thought that came into my mind was “Get Set and Go for The Taj”. As my exams got over just a day before, we made a plan to visit the most marvelous monument: “The Taj Mahal”. The Taj Mahal is located on the banks of the river Yamuna in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India and was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal way back in 1648.
We had whole family trip with my aunt and nephew altogether. So, we started early in the morning so that we can get the tickets and save ourselves from the “never ending queues” at the ticket counters. We booked a taxi and started at 8 am in the morning. As, cars or buses aren’t allowed within a 500 meter radius, as a measure to control pollution, so we decided to take a walk and finally reached  the southern gate of the Taj at around 9 am.
As we proceed further, we were astounded by the enormous walls made of red stone guarding the main structure from 3 sides and then there is “The Great Gate” aka “Darwaza I rauza”. It was a huge gate and this idea drives me crazy as how did they build such huge structures when nobody ever thought of a thing like skyscrapers. On stepping inside, we were stuck for a moment by the mesmerizing view of the Taj. It seemed like the time stopped and our legs got frozen by the ravishing view of the fountains of the ”Charbagh” , aka , “The Gardens” and the marvelous white marble structure behind the them. I wished to stand there whole day and not to take a step forward, but just as I thought about it, I heard a voice from behind insisting me to move forward. I looked back and there was the security guard. So, we moved on further, gazing through the beautiful gardens and reached the counter for placing the shoes/sandals. As shoes are not allowed inside the white marble structure yet you can buy shoe covers if you do love wearing your shoes that much :-).
It was noon by now and the sun was scorching due to which, the white marble on which we were walking was extremely hot. We were literally running to find any shade to stand and rest. Yet, it was an amazing experience running all over the place with blazing feet. As we moved on, we came to know about some of the exciting things about Taj Mahal.
It took 22 years and about 20,000 people to build this amazing structure. The Taj Mahal is one the world’s most symmetric structures with its four sides being perfectly identical. The four minarets were built slightly tilted outside to prevent them from falling on the main mausoleum, in case of any natural calamity like earthquake. One place where it fails to show symmetry is the size of the tomb of the Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal having the male tomb is larger than the female one. The calligraphy inscribed on the walls of Taj by Amanat Khan contains verses and passages from the holy book of “Quran” in Thuluth script.
It took us around three and a half hours to cover the whole monument, taking pictures in every possible posture and then we came out of the monument. On our way back, we saw several Souvenir shops selling key rings, books, miniature models. I also bought one miniature Taj as a Souvenir of my visit at a very reasonable price of 150 rupees. It was overall a very beautiful experience visiting Taj and now I understand why million of visitors come every year, why it is considered in the “Seven Wonders of the World list”, why it is a national heritage.
If you’re in India, and haven’t seen the Taj, you literally haven’t seen anything. So, what are you waiting for? Plan a trip, arrange for tickets and go for it!Bored of travelling solo? No worries. eChutti will help you to find travel partner based on your needs.

A visual treat on the way to Darjeeling

As we whisked past the crowd in Sealdah Station, Kolkata, towards the platform, our heads were abuzz with the excitement of the upcoming road trip. We were making an overnight train journey to New Jalpaiguri that night. It was the last week of December. When we reached the destination station the next morning, our faces were flushed with both fatigue and exhilaration. Having bought some snacks for the journey from the station shops, we booked a Travera on share with a group of college friends. Finally, my family (including my parents, elder sister and her 2-year old toddler) and I, along with the other group, set off for Darjeeling.
At the onset of the journey, the car moved through the urban town of New Jalpaiguri. We had been told that the total distance was approximately around 70 Km. It had taken us close to 4 hours to reach our destination. We headed west, towards the Tinbatti More, keeping onto the Burdwan Road. After a while, as we watched through the window, the roadside houses and shops quickly transitioned into a lush, dense greenery and green-grey hills in the distance. Soon, we all were gazing at the dark green trees and shrubs on both sides of the winding road we travelled along. It was not chilly, but there was a nip in the air. It was an amazing feeling when the breeze gently brushed against my face as I looked out of the window.
Not before long, the car was moving amidst something that looked like a forest. The road was not too wide in that part. While we munched on the biscuits and chips we had bought from the station, the driver told us that it was the ‘Shukna’ forest. The trees loomed over the moving car, tall with thick leaves. Absorbed in small talk, we did not pay heed to how long it was before the forest had passed.
The next notable place, I recollect, was Pankhabari. The road at this juncture was extremely narrow, steep and meandering. Some of us were uncomfortable because of the hairpin curves and sharp bends in the road. I must mention that we all were in awe of the expertise and ease with which the driver propelled the car through the critical twists and turns. The ethereal scenic beauty of the place, on the other hand, was captivating. This road overlooked the famous ‘Makaibari tea estate’. Some dwelling places could be seen at a distance, which we assumed to be the Pankhabari village. As the car moved ahead, we felt as though the clouds were floating beneath us.
A mellow music played on and we were enchanted by the sheer beauty of nature. We had stopped at a small roadside shop here to have lunch and buy drinks. Next noteworthy place on the way was Kurseong, a more residential town than the places we had left behind. Though the weather was very pleasant, we began to feel a bit cold. Kurseong evidently looked like a major tourist attraction, as many plush-looking hotels came into view for the first time along the journey. We also caught a glimpse of the toy-train-track at this place. Some of the streets here were a little populated and seemed to have multipurpose shops. From here, it is mainly the Hill Cart Road (also known as the Tenzing Norway Road or the NH-55), which goes all the way up to Darjeeling.
Further in the journey, the fascinating mountains and valleys, wrapped in smokes of cloud, kept us enchanted and spellbound. I felt as though there existed only the road that we were traversing, in the midst of a huge void. Finally, I remember the driver mentioning the Ghoom area, the highest point on our route. There was a thick mantle of fog and cloud surrounding us and the scenery did not change much from here onwards. The final stretch between Ghoom and Darjeeling was around 8 Km. The driver told us that there were different roads leading to Kalimpong, Gangtok and the picturesque Mirik, diverging out from Ghoom. At last, we began our descent towards the town of Darjeeling and it took us about half an hour from Ghoom to enter our final destination. On a liitle extra payment, the Travera had dropped us near our hotel at the Mall Road, thereby putting an end to our delightful road trip.
Darjeeling conjures visions of snow peaks, serenity of vibrant green hills steeped in splendour, a land of breathtaking beauty. Been to Darjeeling? Share your trip experience by creating your travel blog.


Travelling is undoubtedly one of the best mediums to get through stress. People by far opt in for this option midst their leisure time. We were frolickingly passing a bit of our time in Pune at my aunts’. So then, we decided to hop on to a jaunt where Sinhgadh was our cream of the crop. The very next day we hopped in the car at forenoon along with our prerequisites. The road map and the residents kept us going. The fellowship of the near and dear ones made the journey a white-knuckle ride. En route we saw beaucoup Maharashtrian hamlets. Sinhgadh measured a distance of 32 kilometres at an approximate figure from Pune. Après some hours we pulled up in front of the entrance gate. Sinhgadh, also called as Lion’s Fort is nestled along the Sahyadri Mountain ranges and perched 700 metres above the sea level. It was quite gruelling for the driver to get us there as the route to the top was spiral. The view of the scenery kept on minimising as we were reaching the top. Everything from above looked very picturesque. Sinhgadh, a strong fort was well constructed in the turn of the century by the Marathwadas for attacking the foes from above. It also includes the burial of the great Tanaji Malusare that beguiles visitors from all over the country. The plateau region of the Ghats also consisted of a placid lake known as Khadakwasla. It was pretty serene!
The tourist guide aided us well and subsequently we were able to trace a good place where we could sit and eat some food. We chattered for some time and then geared up for some more sight-seeing. There were several tall and thick green trees and shrubs on the plateau region which made the place much comely. Sinhgadh is a place of great historic heritage that also serves tranquillity. Therefore, it is a perfect coalesce for excursion and chronicle knowledge. Being the advent of June, the weather was hot and dry above from the scratch but during the eventide we faced a drastic change in it. From the extreme point of the region we could see the clouds turning grey very closely. It turned dark and started to pelt very soon. People then started breaking away. Fierce thunderstorms and chill bumps were experienced. For a few minutes we snuggled in one of the tea booths which also served pleasant-tasting hot pakoras.
It was raining cats and dogs so we had to quickly move to the parking area. We were all drenched in rain. The place had become lush green and was perfumed with the aesthetic petrichor. It was one of the best adventurous trips that I had ever experienced and the best way to rejuvenate before school. The trip made us very contented. It is still cherished when we all bunch up together!
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Loved The Food and The Food Loved Me Back

George Bernard Shaw was apt right when he said “There is no sincerer love than the love of food.” I’ve always loved to eat, and yet some food I’ve eaten linger in my memory long after I’ve licked the last speck from the plate. Why? I’m not exactly sure but that the spices tuck under my tongue and it’s taste move in ways that long intrigues me. One such memory still afresh in my mind is an excursion to Udaipur- The Venice of India, that unearthed a plethora of tastes before my tongue, the food destination being UPRE. Since 1559 A.D. , the rooftop restaurant overlooking lake Pichhola is a real treat to watch. And add to it the poetry in recepie, music in spices, the whispers of garnishing and the regal splendour of ghee. This sense of completeness is truly amazing. UPRE has an ambience that lights you up instantly as you enter.
I’m a vegan and a nonalcoholic too, so there wasn’t much exploration for me to be done but the vegan’s delight “Paneer” was something I would relish forever. The intricately woven spices in the gravies and the finely made ginger naan were seemingly the food of Gods themselves. The view overlooking the food made me realize that food isn’t just food. Food is a thing of beauty. That preparation, that fragrance of spices, that wafting aroma-that just sweeps away depression, tiredness and name what you may. Jay Leno greedily said ” soup is just a way of screwing you out of a meal.” But food doesn’t seem food without a bowl of soup. The tomato cream soup in the restaurant was the exact example of what one calls scrumptious. A taste to savour literally. The starter of Paneer Platter, followed by main course-Butter Paneer Masala, Veg Kofta, Malai Paneer, Butter and Ginger naan. Now if it comes to dessert I would go with Graham Kerr when he defined dessert as the perfect women: subtle, a little bittersweet, not blowsy and extrovert, delicately made up, not highly rouged, holding back, not exposing everything & of course with a flavor that lasts. And nothing is better than the all time delectable and yummy, the King of Indian Desserts-Gulab Jamun. Adding a little pinch of exotic sense to our Great Indian Diet was a cup of coffee the nectar of angels. Coffee has been fuelling us for centuries, pulling men and women into its embrace and never letting go. The Biker’s Cafe Lounge at Chand pole, very near to UPRE, had the most pleasant-tasting Café Mocha in the world for sure. Black as the devil, hot as hell, pure as an angel, sweet as love, coffee is best defined by Sheikh-Abd-al Kadir as ” common man’s gold” where ” like gold it brings to every person the feeling of luxury and mobility”. Hence wrapped up our exploration of the deepest tastes and flavors of the Lake City on an indeed very happy note. Perhaps there could be a single taste that missed our hearts but on a complete note we found a mine of peppery, saporous, piquant, salty, gingery, toothsome and robust meal. After all Virginia Woolf was too honest when she said ” One can’t think well, love well, sleep well, if one hasn’t dined properly”.
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As a teenager I have always loved being woken up by the aroma of my favorite ginger tea. Tea was a platform where I bonded even closer to my parents. CHARCHA CHAI PAR became a daily routine before the day began. Never thought that growing up would mean separation from such small pleasures of life. Never thought that the daily hugs would turn into occasional visits to my own parents and CHAI ki CHUSKIYAN will never be the same. Things like such I always missed while working in Mumbai; just homesick and a longing for the morning tea and chatter with my mum. However, never know that there will come an event of SERENDIPITY. On an almost rainy day, while coming back from work, I saw something that not only was enticing with what it had to offer but also where it invited. A rooftop tea cafe called Almond Flower built in Andheri, Mumbai. I stopped my auto in the middle of the traffic and took my friend to the place. It had a nice soothing ambiance with old songs being played in the background. It evoked all my memories of how I used to enjoy listening to Dev Anand songs with my dad. My friend and I took off our footwear and sat on what was a comfortable floor seating. With the wind blowing through our feet, it added even more positive vibes as we scanned through the menu to order. Relaxing and soothing as the place was, the tea served to us was no less. I just relived my moments of a playful banter and a long chatter over my favorite cup of tea.
Nothing can beat a good tea in winter mornings. Every city has that best tea stall. Find such grate joints using eChutti travel forum.

The Pink City; Not so Pink afterall

For a young woman who was trapped in a 9 to 7 internship routine throughout summer, a long weekend in the pleasant month of August turns out to be a blessing in disguise. In order to get away from work pressure as well as academic blues, this woman (i.e. myself) chalked out a short trip to the ‘Pink City’ from August 20th until 22nd; in order to indulge in shear relaxation and exploration.

I did not wish to burn a hole in my pocket by booking an air ticket neither did I have enough time to take a 7 hour long train journey hence, I decided to drive down to the vibrant city of Jaipur. What next? Well, which hotel should I check in at? Honestly, I did not want to compromise on this front and wanted to relax at a hotel that in itself is an eye-candy even if I do not step out at all; hence I chose ‘Savai Mann Singh Rest Rooms’ by Taj, located right next to the Rambagh Palace.

Day 1

With an archaic yellow suitcase and 2 hand bags full of ‘Farsaan’ and ‘Aloo Puri’, my drive began at 6 in the morning and I had set foot in the hotel at 11AM, sharp.

Through the beautiful ‘Aravalis’ into the city of hues, it was a comfortable drive with no potholes on the roads and moderate sort of traffic. As I got the keys for room number 410, I entered a royal and beautiful room and because I had asked for a garden view, I spotted this beautiful peacock sitting right outside, probably waiting for his beloved before they could pull off a dance!

After some 10 minutes of being awestruck and a nap of about 2 hours, I went in for a quick swim in the hotel pool and ordered some lip-smacking pool side snacks to get rid of ALL the fatigue.

Later in the evening, I walked into the Rambagh Palace for a stroll and the shutterbug within my soul said ‘Time for some night light photography maybe?’ hence, I clicked these pictures – (Thanks to the weather for such a beautiful skyline though)

Post the photography hour, I thought to myself- ‘What does one need at the end of a long day? Good Food? Indeed’ And so, I ordered a special Rajasthani Thali for dinner which consisted of ‘Marwari Kadhi’, ‘Gatte Ki Sabzi’, ‘Nawab-e-Paneer’ and home cooked ‘Dal (Plus desserts, all for Rs. 800) and honestly, this thali tasted much better than what one would get at ‘Chokhi Dhani’ which is a Marwari style ‘village fair’ located at the outskirts of Jaipur.

Day 2

Being the OCD sort of person that I am, I booked an 8 hour cab for day two in order to explore all the heritage that I could within a day! Oh and not to miss, who wouldn’t want to hit the local markets in a city such as Jaipur? So the day began at 11PM and I quickly asked the driver to drive me down to the famous ‘Bapu Bazaar’ and neighbouring ‘Johari Bazaar’, both famous for Rajasthani craft items and jewellery.

The market was brimming with traditional looking earrings, neck pieces, bangles, bags, kurtas and of course ‘Jootis’. I ended up spending some 4K on shopping but the highlights of course were these ‘Jootis’ I bought for myself and my best friend.

Further, I took a pause for lunch at a local restaurant around 1.30 and then started for ‘Hawa Mahal’ around 2PM which is a palace situated right next to the Tourist Palace Market, so named because it was essentially a high screen wall built so the women of the royal household could observe street festivals while unseen from the outside. As I stood in front of this sandstone giant, I sensed wind in my hair and a storm of good vibes entered my cluttered head, thereby making me feel extremely peaceful.

The next heritage site on my checklist was ‘Jal Mahal’ which is a palace situated in the middle of the ‘Man Sarovar Lake’ which turned out to be a 20 minute ‘rainy’ drive from Hawa Mahal. As I got off from the car, the rain had stopped pouring and the sun was shining through the clouds; rays being filtered onto the structure as well as the surrounding hills and hence I started struggling for the perfect shot to capture on my camera.

As I clicked this picture and got back into the conveyance, the driver told me that all other heritage sites would close down by 3.30 which meant that we would not be allowed to go inside. I felt disappointed for a while but decided to strike off each site from my checklist even if that meant laying eyes on the monuments only from the outside and hence we then marched towards Amer Fort which is a principal tourist attraction in Jaipur.

I couldn’t stop staring at this wonderful structure and the complimentary sky line until the driver honked and asked me about my last destination which was ‘Albert’s Hall’.

‘The foundation of this museum was laid during the visit of the Prince of Wales in 1876 which today stands as a museum of Industrial Arts’ said the driver. Of course I couldn’t go in but, have you ever seen so many crows in one spot in Delhi/NCR ever? I was surrounded by their ‘caws’ for over half an hour and finally, I asked the driver to drop me off at the MI road for dinner.

Post meal, I headed to the hotel for a comfortable sleep as I had to leave for home the next morning.

There’s nothing better than home, but at times; different is good! All in all, the pink city indeed is a visual treat; it’s like food for the soul but pink? It’s not so pink after all!

Do visit this city, when in a desperate need for relaxation coupled with beauty!

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