I don’t belong to Mumbai. Or shall I say that I thought I didn’t till recently. I have spent 14 years in this city, just 4 years short of the number of years I spent at my birthplace. It was around the same time – Ganesh Chaturthi – when I first set foot here oblivious to how my life was going to be tossed and turned around; that from being a jobless nobody, I will see my name (and recently my face too) published in some of the best magazines and newspapers. Every time I thought the city took away from me, it doubled it up and gave back, not always in ways I expected.
Anuradhapura, ‘the sacred city’ of the teardrop island has Buddhist culture seeped-in to its core. There are absolutely no tourist traps and the city feels much safer (saying this from the point of view of a solo traveler).
After spending first 3 days of my Sri Lanka trip in Galle and exploring the SoutWest Coast of Sri Lanka, I lugged my backpack on my shoulders and hopped on a train to Anuradhapura. While the train route was spectacular – coastline till Colombo and then beautiful countryside – taking a train might not be the best decision for long routes (it’s painfully slow). However, I enjoyed the slow journey mostly looking out of the window and munching every kind of snack that was being sold on the train – sliced apples and pineapple sprinkled with masala, daal vadais stuffed with prawns, peanuts etc.
Pristine beaches, island hopping, party – 3 things that come to mind when you think of Phuket. While all of these is what makes Phuket a perfect holiday destination with friends, there’re plenty of things that you can do if you’re traveling alone or are not particularly interested in partying. During my week long trip to Thailand, I had a two-day stay in Phuket which I mostly explored on my own. If you’re planning a trip to Thailand, I suggest you hop over to Phuket for just a weekend. Here’s all that you can do (apart from watching sunsets at the lovely beaches).
“Log bohot chatore hote hain,” (people really love to eat chaat) overheard outside chaat shop. Aur Lucknow ke log to kuch zyada hi chatore hote hain (and people in Lucknow even more so). The chaat of this city turns you into one. I think the word chatore must have been coined in Lucknow seeing the love people have here for chaat. It comes from the word chaatna or licking cause you will definitely want to lick clean your plate of chaat, and it’s a socially acceptable practice. The evening plans in Lucknow are made around eating chaat. Shopping is fun here cause you can take a quick chaat break. As a kid my only reason to accompany my mother for shopping was a post shopping treat of pani ke batashe and hot aloo tikkis. For the uninitiated, chaat is sold mostly in the evenings so don’t come to Lucknow expecting to eat chaat in the middle of the day.
I think I am on to making some kind of a New Year traveling trend for myself – traveling to and exploring a new city within the country. Last year I went to Ahmedabad (read about the trip here) and 2017 started with a trip to Pune. Despite spending a couple of months in the outskirts of the city a few years ago and a few trips last year, this is the first time I saw the city like a traveller would. Here’s what you can do, see and eat if you are in the city for 24 hours.