Earth Magic Kanha – When the soul needed feeding

It’s been a while since I travelled to Kanha. But then, some stories take longer to get out of your head and take the shape of words on paper…my laptop screen in this case.

As the banner of this blog proclaims, I travel for food; food for the body. But then, there are times when the soul needs feeding. It needs to release every pain it has been taking up. The heart needs to let go. And these are the times when I pack my bags and find solace in places that feel far removed from everything that’s familiar to me…a waterfall in the remote village of Meghalaya; a sunrise somewhere in Kutch; and a forest where I can disconnect with everything to connect with myself.

Kanha, where I was two months ago was one such place for me. I travelled there with two beautiful souls – Chetna Chakravarthy (Circle Of Positivity) and Natasha Mahindra (Anam Cara Yoga Retreats) for a retreat that the two were hosting; four days of yoga, chakra healing clubbed with the forest safari. Away from everything that would connect me to the rest of the world – in that beautiful lodge by the river bed – I was tuning in to a different frequency. Rooting myself to mother earth, flowing like water and letting fire ignite the dreams and passion in me.

I turned into a bougainvillea tree during meditation; broke down after dancing uninhibitedly and gave away my secrets and pain to the forest. Have you ever spoken to the forest? To its large tree trunks with thick roots, branches and winding roads? The forest listens if you talk to it and it takes everything that you’re hiding inside you and buries it in its vastness; no questions asked, no judgments. That place, those little spots in the majestic Kanha National Park were accepting and healing. And it might sound something out of a Hollywood movie…Eat Pray Love-esque. But it’s true. Nature is healing; it has the power to take away the heaviness and pain, and fill one with a sense of awareness.

That’s what Chetna and Natasha are doing with their Earth Magic Retreat series. Creating magic by helping you connect more with the nature; holding space for you as you come to terms with your true self; creating a safe space to share your deepest fears as well as your biggest triumphs, your dreams…however irrational they feel to you. Call it a place to overhaul, cleanse or just a space where you can be happy cause that’s what I felt in that forest for four days…happy!

What better way to close this post than a quote by Sylvia Plath:

“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery — air,mountains, trees, people. I thought, ‘This is what it is to be happy”

I don’t know if this post made sense to you. But if it did touch a chord, do leave me a comment. Also, Chetna and Natasha are planning their next retreat in Croatia. You can find out more about it here.

Travel is home in this uprooted world

Uprooted – that’s how I feel in Mumbai these days; a city that I have called home for 14 years, the one that I finally fell in love with in 2018, is now making me feel unsettled and I am not sure if it’s the feeling I should fight or embrace. Continue reading

The best meals of 2018 – Where and what I ate

It’s becoming a sort of ritual now…to round up the year with the best meals I have eaten and 2018 has been especially kind. It’s the year I really traveled for food and created itineraries for those who love to travel for food (I consult with Cox and Kings and created itineraries for their product Tour To Feast). 2018 was the year of learning about food of different communities and going absolutely hyper local.

So here they are…my most memorable meals of 2018.

deena kaka’s hing ki kachori, varanasi

Varanasi’s very own Soup Nazi, Deena Kaka runs this small kachori shop near Chowk area. The shop is literally on a footpath where people patiently wait while he fries the kachori. You can’t ask him to hurry up, you have to wait patiently and wait in the line or else you don’t get any kachori. . . Deena Kaka opens the shop for just 3 hours in the evening, fries 3 batches of kachoris and goes home. The price of one kachori is Rs 5 which hasn’t been increased in years. He doesn’t do it for money anymore, it’s purely for the love of food. And the love shows in his kachoris which are stuffed with aloo and fried in desi ghee. The air around the shop is thick with the aromas of hing which makes his kachoris stand out. He serves them with black gram and chutney. This plate of kachoris is the best food I have eaten in Varanasi.

Also Read: Varanasi – The city that runs on high vibration

Deena Kaka ki hing ki kachauri, Varanasi

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Fun things to do in Copenhagen

Nyavhn, Copenhagen

My Copenhagen trip was planned in a month, between hectic work travel and planning a pop-up dinner. And so, there was barely any time for me to research about the place and things to do there. However, there were quite a few things I was looking forward to…food, of course (yes, I tried to make a booking at Noma but I don’t think I am ready to part with 20k for a meal, not yet); cycling and late sunsets. Oh yes! It’s quite fascinating to have your dinner while the sun is still out. I traveled to Denmark in July, peak summer; something the whole country looks forward to after long, cold and dark winters. Continue reading

Will Travel For Food – Where has it taken me…

A few days ago I was invited by my friend and teacher Prof. Kurush Dalal to speak to a class of Travel and Tourism Management students. I was to speak to them about Culinary Travel giving them a writer’s perspective and how to write about food and travel. I don’t know how to teach people to write, but what I know is to tell people the experiences to look for so that they have enough stories to write about. So, as I made the presentation (yes, I HAD to the bit I despise the most!) it started shaping up into what I would do as a culinary travel writer; I spoke about things that I when p keep in mind when planning my trips, stories that I go looking for and the ones that find me instinctively. Places culinary travel has taken me to…

To a humble kitchen in McLeodganj, Himachal Pradesh

After quitting my job in 2016, my first trip was to this dreamy little town in Himachal Pradesh. My only plan here was to eat at the pretty cafes and tiny restaurants and pack-in as many meals as possible in 2 days (also read – Where to eat in McLeodganj). I had another agenda too…to take a cooking/baking class. There are a few Tibetan chefs around and I had read somewhere about Sangye’s Kitchen, a modest little kitchen in the heart of the town. I signed-up for his class to learn Tibetan breads. On that evening, while he taught me to bake using the most baking equipments he had (a gas stove and a pan), Sangye taught me the first lesson of, “start where you are, use what you have.” (also read: Baking bread and learning life’s lessons at Sangye’s Kitchen)

Sangye Tashi

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