Travel Tales from India and Abroad - Striving to be India's Best Travel Blog
Mridula Dwivedi started blogging on 'Travel Tales from India' in June 2005. She renamed it Travel Tales from India & Abroad in 2016. Within a few months of the launch, her travel blog found a mention on both the BBC and The Guardian. She shares her travelling experience and photographs on her blog.
After a few minutes inside the Dandi Kutir Museum I was reminded of the museums in Sharjah and Dubai. I had seen such use of technology only in those places. So, it was a pleasant surprise to find such a modern museum closer home.
Dabdi Kutir is the world’s largest museum devoted to the life and teachings of one person, Mahatma Gandhi! As our group walked towards the building, the exteriors looked impressive and unusual! Our guide pointed out that the building resembled a salt heap to commemorate the Dandi Yatra led by Mahatma Gandhi!
We were given audio guides at the entrance, mine was in English. I have used audio guides in many museums in different parts of the world, the last one at the Palace of Versailles in France! But Dandi Kutir is a step ahead! There was no press one, press two here. The audio guide worked on the wireless, you just need to go and stand near an exhibit and it would start explaining about the event automatically!
The exhibits are divided in five parts and across a few floors, named The Early Life, Life in London and Back Home, Life in South Africa, Return to India and Satyagraha and Road to Independence! Even if done at a fast pace it will take 1.5 hours to go through the journey. I would say, plan for more time.
I got so engrossed in listening to the vairious incidents related to Mahatma Gandhi’s life that our guide had to bully me into moving forward. There are two scenarios in the museum that still remain with me, in spite of our lack of time and all.
The Dandi Kutir Complex in Ganhdinagar, Gujarat
In one scenario we board a train that Mahatma took for a meeting in UP. As you sit, you start to feel as if the train is moving and you are really sitting inside it! The second one is about a meeting in South Africa. All the visitors sit in a circle in the middle of the room and when the audio-visuals go off, you feel as if you are a part of that meeting.
The entry fee for Indians is Rupees 10 and Rupees 200 for foreigners. A lot of school and college going students visit the museum. If school kids start seeing such clean, well planned and executed spaces right in their backyards, they will probably start demanding it as a norm!
Clicked with Special Permission at Dandi Kutir!
Even though photography is not allowed within the museum, we were given special permission to click a few pictures from the reception. That is how I got the pictures of the interiors. You can photograph the monument from the outside.
Visiting Dandi Kutir Museum was a surprise for me, I did not expect such a high-tech museum in my backyard! I hope to see more such world class projects in our country!
When I got an invitation from the UP Government and Lonely Planet Magazine India to visit the Kumbh Mela at Prayagraj I accepted it without any hesitation. I was under the impression that I would never be able to do it on my own, so I was thrilled that I could be part of the media group to visit Kumbh. I am now back from the visit and though I will write many posts, it is easier to start with the nuts and bolts of what to expect at the Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj.
Consult the Official Website: If you wish to visit Kumbh Mela please consult the official Kumbh Website, it will provide answers to many of your questions. The mela is held at four locations- Nasik, Ujjain, Prayagraj and Haridwar. This post pertains to the Kumbh Mela 2019 at the Prayagraj.
People Waiting to Cross a Pontoon Bridge at the Kumbh Mela, Prayagraj
“The origin of Kumbh Mela was transcribed by the 8th-century philosopher Shankara. The founding myth of the Kumbh Mela points out to the Puranas (compilation of ancient legends). It recounts how Gods and demons fought over the sacred pitcher (Kumbh) of Amrit (nectar of immortality) called the Ratna of Samudra Manthan. It is widely believed that Lord Vishnu (disguised as the enchantress ‘Mohini’) whisked the Kumbh out of the grasp of the covetous demons who had tried to claim it. As he took it heavenwards, a few drops of the precious nectar fell on the four sacred site we know as Haridwar, Ujjain, Nashik and Prayag. The flight and the following pursuit is said to have lasted twelve divine days which is equivalent to twelve human years and therefore, the Mela is celebrated every twelve years, staggered at each of the four sacred sites in this cycle. The corresponding rivers are believed to have turned into Amrit at the cosmic moment, giving pilgrims the chance to bathe in the essence of purity, auspiciousness, and immortality.”
Also no one invites anyone to Kumbh Mela, people reach the site on their own. It is primarily a gathering of sages and saints but common public and travelers, including foreign guests, turn out in huge numbers. The mela is basically about saints, sadhus and mystics who gather at Kumbh to deliberate on topics of public interest including politics.
The impression among the public is that it is too crowded and difficult to attend gathering. When I posted pictures from the Kumbh on my Facebook I got private messages within the first few hours with requests to share practical information about the Kumbh Mela.
People Taking a Dip in the River Ganga at Kumbh Mela 2019
When to Visit? The Prayagraj Kumbh Mela is held from January 15 to March 4, 2019. However there are 6 special dates January 15, January 21, February 4, February 10, February 19, and March 4 known as Shahi Snan (special bath). This is when the Akharas (religious sects) take bath in a procession and millions gather at the Sangam.
If you wish to have a peaceful experience, don’t go within a few days of the Shahi Snans. Allow the crowd to get in and get out of the city on these big days and then visit the mela. You will still get the experience minus the crowd.
Visiting During the Shahi Snans: I was at Kumbh for the February 4, Mauni Amawasya Shahi Snan. We entered Prayagraj on February 2, and we faced a traffic jam to get to the Indraprastham Tent City. But it was still livable. However, if we tried to enter on the day of the Shahi Snan it would have been a logistical nightmare as there would be huge traffic restrictions in place to manage the flow of the people. If you wish to enter on the day of the Shahi Snan be prepared to walk a lot on foot.
We however tried to exit Prayagraj on the day of the Shahi Snan i.e. 4th February. It was a nightmare. We knew there would be a huge traffic jam if we tried to cross over via the city. So the organizers took a detour, which in the end turned out to be of 160 km. It took us close to 14 hours to reach Lucknow from Prayagraj in a backbreaking bus journey.
Hence my recommendation- if you are planning to go during the Shahi Snan get in two days before and leave after two days, so that the crowds have dispersed.
Mounted Police at the Kumbh Mela 2019, Prayagraj
Visiting During the Other Days: If you visit during the other days, you will still find a lot to do, minus the insane crowd. You can drive in to the tent cities with relative ease. If you plan to stay in the city and visit Kumbh it is still feasible. Do take a look at the Traffic Plan offered by the Mela Authorities.
Indraprastham Tent City at Prayagraj Kumbh Mela 2019
Where To Stay? We stayed at the Indraprastham Tent City which I believe is the more costly option. It is also far from the Mela but they have e-rickshaws to ply guests from the tents to the nearest pontoon bridge (19 in this case). Here is a list of tents available within the Kumbh Mela Grounds.
On ordinary days staying in the city is also a good idea. You can visit the mela grounds during the day and get away to a relatively quite place afterwards.
For truly adventurous souls there are public accommodations that can be booked at the site for 100 to 200 rupees. Here is the information about the most basic accommodation available at the mela.
A Pontoon Bridge at the Kumbh Mela 2019 at Prayagraj
Crossing Over to the Mela Grounds: There are pontoon bridges to get into the Kumbh Mela. It may happen that when you wish to cross over, the bridge nearest to you might be closed. There are thousand of security personnel deployed. CCTV cameras are used to control both the crowds and the traffic. If the administration feels that the grounds are getting too crowded they may close a few bridges to manage the crowd. Please bear with them and cooperate with them.
Boats at the River Ganga on the Day of the Shahi Snan of the Mauni Amawasya
The Experience: I walked along the Kumbh Mela site extensively with my media group and two guides Kunal and Satish. And I was impressed with what I saw. The mela grounds are clean and if you wish to click a picture, almost always you will get a toilet in the view! So if you are worried on the account of the cleanliness, don’t, the mela is really clean.
It was crowded yet manageable. I had no trouble in walking, thanks to the crowd management done by the police and other authorities. We saw plenty of Naga Sadhus (but that is another story) and other saints. The area is huge so in our limited time, we saw only a fraction. But what I saw surely makes me want to go back for more.
People Taking a Dip at the Sangam on the Occassion of the Mauni Amawasya
Taking a Dip in the River Ganga: I personally did not take a dip (only sprinkled the water over me and my precious story telling tools) but if you wish to do so, it can be done. Tent Cities like Indraprastham have their own private ghats. The public ghats on non shahi snan days are not too crowded. On Shahi Snan days you will have to wait your turn and brave the crowd.
I am no expert on the water quality but I can assure you that sewage management is in place. Also the Ganga is a mighty flowing river and not a pond. But beyond this I have no idea about the water quality.
Overall: This is my first visit to the Kumbh Mela, so I have nothing to compare it with, but I have come back impressed. The level of cleanliness is commendable. There is crowd but there is management too. I always thought that I could not go to Kumbh on my own, but I now think I can plan a trip myself!
With all the discussion going around the home about Kumbh my daughter yesterday asked me- “so mom have you got rid of all your bad habits now?” I wish it was that easy, but Kumbh Mela has clearly made an everlasting impression on me!
A Naga Sadhu at the Kumbh Mela, Prayagraj
If I have missed out on anything yu have a question about, please feel free to leave a comment. I will try to respond as soon as possible.
We are continuing with our Paris saga, this post has been written by my sister Alka. We visited Paris in November 2018. Over to Alka.
When my sister asked me, what if we visit Paris this year,
my joy knew no bound. Paris always fascinated me. Being a student of history,
French Revolution, the fall of Bastille and the rise and fall of Napoleon held
a special place in my mind and heart. I could not wait for our trip to begin.
Alka and Mridula at the Louvre!
Our first stop in Paris was the Louvre Museum as it was on the same Metro Line as our hotel. But at that time, we didn’t go inside to see Monalisa. It was late and we decided we would go back early in the morning the next day!
We visited the Eiffel Tower next. The minute I reached there, I felt as if I was in Atta Market, Noida! The milieu was so hilariously similar. If you have been to Atta Market, you can easily understand
what I’m trying to say.
There you are, enjoying the hustle and bustle of the local market established upon the pavements, with cars and buses incessantly honking and the shopkeepers, busy selling their goodies, paying scant regard to the inconvenience caused to the passers-by.
The Key Chains and the Commotion!
And then suddenly there is this insane scrambling, firstly originating at the extreme end of the street and then causing a ripple of commotion throughout the settlement. The shopkeepers start winding up, collecting their belongings in sheets and running helter-skelter, alerting their fellow shopkeepers, “Committee wale aa gaye, bhaago! Committee wale aa gaye!”
Well, I witnessed something similar near the Eiffel Tower.
I first through a glance at all those shopkeepers selling their goodies, then I beheld the beauty of the Eiffel Tower, engrossed in my “aha!” moment just for a few seconds and then suddenly, there was commotion.
I saw the shopkeepers, scooping their goodies in their sheets in a single, swift sweep, and running away from the payment, just the way they do it in Atta! Uttering and screaming in French, I’m pretty sure, “Committee wale aa gaye, bhago!” I laughed uncontrollably.
Alka at the Eiffel Tower
Next we went inside the Eiffel Tower area, admired its beauty and clicked pictures to our hearts’ content. I even made a video call to my kid and husband and showed them the Eiffel Tower.
But we decided against going at the top as it was a foggy day and we would not have gotten any view of the city from the top. You see, how with age, wisdom comes knocking at your door, whether you appreciate it or not.
When we came out of the Eiffel Tower, the pavement
shopkeepers were back doing brisk business, after happily sailing through the
danger and dodging it successfully.
After spotting us, one was even trying to sell us a small replica of Eiffel Tower, by shouting, “Ek Euro! Ek Euro!”
We came out of the Eiffel Tower area and started searching for a place to sit and admire things while munching on something. We had baguette sandwiches with coffee. To two tired and hungry individuals, our snack tasted
Wedding Shoot in Paris!
We enjoyed our snacks while watching a wedding shoot. The
bride looked out of this world and obviously, the bridegroom beamed with pride
at his choice.My sister put on her photographer’s hat and gatecrashed the
After a while I saw , my sister was not alone and others too
were clicking away the bride and groom happily. Being the lazy one, I just kept on eating and sipping my
coffee and thanking God, that my sister has not acquired the habit of crashing
a party so that she can do some food photography!!
I know she is not a foodie, but has a photographer’s eye, and an insatiable hunger for good photo opportunities. Rejuvenated, and with our hunger satisfied, we started walking along pathways near the Seine river.
Another Wedding Shoot at the Bir Hakeim Brige
My sister suggested we should go to Bir-Hakeim. It’s nearby. We would get a fantastic view of the Eiffel Tower from that bridge. She was absolutely right. And we witnessed two more pre-wedding shoots there!
Yet Another Wedding Shoot near the Bir Hakeim Bridge!
If you go to the Eiffel Tower, please don’t miss this
bridge. You will get an amazing view and for a while you will forget you are standing
in the midst of heavy traffic.
The river , a path lined with trees, and the Eiffel Tower, make you forget everything and what you will carry home would be amazement, contentment and the image of a marvel known as the Eiffel Tower.
PS. Even though this was a personal trip, there were two collaborations that I need to mention. The France Tourism Board provided us with two 6 day travel cards for public transpor and 2 Museum Passes for 4 days; I had the M50 on loan from Canon India. A big thank you to both of them.
The first trip of 2019 was to Ranthambore with Abhyaran Hotels. Chhavi and I took the Janshatabdi from Hazrat Nizaumddin to Sawai Madhopur in the afternoon. We arrived at the hotel in the evening after 7.00 pm.
Chhavi and I, All Smiles!
After going for a quick refresh in our spacious room we headed to the pool for bonfire and much needed tea. Every evening a group of local singers perform by the fire under the starry sky. The first day of the trip was almost gone in reaching the destination and recovering from the fatigue.
Tired as we were, there was dinner to look forward to. We joined the buffet dinner at 8.00 pm. The hot roits are served at the table. The buffet offers both and vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. The food had a homely feel. Later I realized they grow some of the produce in their own farms.
Our Room at Abhyaran Hotel in Ranthambore
After dinner we retired to our room. It was a blessing not to have TV there. Kids are so glued to screens these days. However, my endeavors were only partially successful. There was WiFi at the resort so Chhavi could watch something on the mobile. But we both crashed quickly. And we had a lazy day ahed.
Puri Aalo for Breakfast!
Waking up without an alarm is such a simple pleasure of life, more so when you went early to bed the previous night! We woke up refreshed and it was a beautiful sunny day. After a leisurely breakfast we went about exploring the resort.
We had seen the pool the previous night, now it was time to see the farms, cows, rabbits and hen! The garden surrounded by the the Sahtoot (mulberry) trees is a serene place overlooking the mustard fields.
Mustard Fields at Ranthambore
After a round of the hotel, Chhavi and I walked out to the blooming mustard fields! And it was such great fun. We were peering at the fields by the narrow road. Tractors went past us playing local songs at full blast!
After walking for a while, we found a break in a fence. So, went closer to the field. I had to reign in Chhavi or she could have gone wild with the blooms. Still a few flowers ended up in her hands and in her hair band!
Floral Cheer in the Lobby
While we were walking back to Abhyaran, we met three little girls coming back from their football practice. If we had more time Chhavi would have loved to join them. After tennis, football is her favorite game!
But we hurried to lunch and the evening safari! Our safari was in Zone 10 which is at the other end of the city. It took us quite some time to reach the jungle. The canter was filled with tourists from Italy. They greeted Chhavi warmly. No two adjacent seats were vacant but the driver offered Chhavi the front seat next to his! Her day was made.
Zone 10 in Ranthambore National Park
We had no luck with the big cats but then we had gone to the jungle and not a zoo! Even Chhavi understands that. It is always a pleasure to go to the jungle.
We went to the bonfire again after the safari. It was followed by a sumptuous dinner. We wish we had one more day but Chhavi had tennis to get back to.
A Wonderful Stay at the Abhyaran Hotel
As we waited for our train from the small Sawai Madhopur station at the sunrise we both knew it was a good start to the year!
PS. Chhavi and I were invited by the Abhyaran Hotel on this trip.
Hooping over from Paris to Geneva was my sisters idea! I am the lazy one when it comes to vacations, I like to stay at one place. But she was adamant that we would go for a day trip to Geneva and that was that!
I was carrying a new camera on the trip, the Canon EOS M50, which I had on loan from Canon India. I was keen to try my hands at using a mirrorless camera and my wish was fulfilled.
So in this post I am sharing the Postcards from Geneva which have been clicked on M50. All my sari images are from the same camera too, taken by my sister Alka.
Between the two of us, I am the photographer and Alka is better facing the camera. But when the roles got reversed she used the M50 like a pro! The camera has a touch screen display which you can use to focus as well! As far as ease of use goes, M50 was super easy and fun to use!
Swans at the Lake Geneva
M50 is a light weight camera is you compare it with a DSLR. It was a big change for me to have a camera that was small but versatile. I had only one lens, 15-45 mm but I didn’t complain much! The ease of carrying a mirrorless cancelled out my desire to have many lenses.
Bains des Pâquis
We took an express train from Paris and landed at Geneva. As we walked out of the station we could see the Lake Geneva. We ended up at Bains des Pâquis which is a public bathing area! And we liked it. M50 offers a plethora of automatic modes for easy shooting. For more advanced users there are the usual manual modes available!
A red Boat at the Lake Geneva
As I already use a DSLR, for me it was easy to use the M50. However, as I am used to clicking picture through a viewfinder, using the screen took some getting used to. But as it was a touch screen, it was easy to switch. I totally liked the idea of touching the screen to adjust the focus. Also you can lock the lens when you are not using the M50. I have no such feature on my DSLR.
Seagulla at Lake Geneva, Switzerland
The weather at Geneva for the whole day was grey and overcast, how I wished for a bit of sunshine!
I like it a lot that I can connect the M50 easily with my mobile. My preferred mode is via the CanonConnect App. It is easy to transfer the pictures on my phone and share it on the go. I have this feature with my Canon DSLR too.
The Clouds Didn’t Let Up
And while I was cribbing about the overcast day I was told, I got a good deal because it is even more difficult to hold the umbrella in one hand and operate the camera at the same time!
I quite liked using the Canon EOS M50, where it scores a lot of points is being lightweight to carry and yet giving excellent pictures. Being able to download the pictures to my phone is another plus. I also liked the touch screen particularly to adjust focus! If you are looking for a light weight camera packed with features, mirrorless is the way to go!
It is that time of the year, when the weather is excellent and festivity is in the air! I was part of the cheer at The Imperial Delhi which was such good fun.
The Beautiful Christmas Tree at the Lobby of The Imperial
As soon as I walked in I was greeted by this beautifully done Christmas Tree in the lobby. It has been hand crafted by French florists Mrs and Mr. Groll.
The Ginger Bread House
In the lobby there is the grand Ginger Bread House with Santa on his sleigh, giving company to the Christmas Tree!
The main venue of the Christmas Carnival was the laws of the 1911 restaurant. It was good weather to be outdoors and enjoy the Christmas decorations.
I love clicking the small things, like this decoration on the table! Over the years I have attended so many events at The Imperial. But there are some places I always love to go back to and this is one of them!
Close up of a Poinsettia
All the usual Christmas items made an appearance, the Poinsettias were specially resplendent!
There was plenty of good food too, there was spinach, saffron and beetroot pasta! I tried the saffron one with the tomato sauce and it was delicious.
Ginger Bread with Ice Cream
I am totally partial to desserts and I enjoyed gingerbread and ice cream, it was a delightful Christmas treat!
Santa Claus Brings Cheer to the Kids
Finally the Santa Claus arrived religiously followed by excited kids where ever he went.
The Christmas festivity continues at The Imperial. You can find the most indulgent Christmas goodies at their patisserie La Baguette, to celebrate the yuletide spirit. Be a part of this celebration extraordinaire on the Christmas eve i.e. 24th December 2018 with an exquisite Christmas eve dinner buffet at1911 Restaurant( all day dining restaurant) from 6.30 to 11.45 pm. Wallow in amidst the sun-kissed 1911 lawns, as we delight you with a lavish Christmas Brunch on 25th December 2018. There is plenty planned for the new year eve too. Check it out from the website!
There are countries that I want to go back, Russia falls in that category. I don’t exactly know what is the charm, but my trip was inexplicably charming. Today I finally got around collecting my postcards from Moscow in one post. I was invited to Siberia on a blogging trip by Follow Up Siberia and I extended my stay in Moscow for a personal vacation.
I spent most of my time in and around the Red Square, the most iconic spot in Moscow. And if you step away from it a little you end up on Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge, with this view of the Moskva River!
The Iconic Gum Store!
Gum is a high end departmental store in the Red Square. Actually when I was in Moscow a function was going at the Red Square and some roads within the square were closed. So I took a short cut via the store to see St. Basil’s Cathedral! Its architecture of the store is amazing, so are the prices of the goods sold there!
From the Streets
I spent a lot of time around the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge and the view was beautiful whichever way I clicked it!
Vystavka Dostizheniy Narodnogo Khozyaystva (and don’t even ask me what the h stands for in VDNKh) is the permanent trade center but I loved it for the beautiful white facade and the vast open spaces around it. There were places to eat near by but they had such a crowd that I did not try them!
Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics
As you walk out of the VNDKh metro station you will immediately spot the high needle like structure which is the Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics. I didn’t go inside but the architecture is so fascinating!
The Fountain at the Alexander Garden
Stretching along the West Kremlin Wall is the beautiful Alexander Garden with blooming flowers (first picture of the post taken in late August) and delightful fountains. The weather in August was lovely to explore it.
Selfie with Friends!
As I said my favorite spot was the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge near Red Square. It was a nice spot to watch the sunset with Kremlin dominating the skyline! It also had interesting people stopping for a picture and then going on with their walks or cycling!
As the Evening Falls!
The good bit about being in a place on my own time is that I can spend as long or as little I want at a particular spot! I do not have that luxury on blogging trips!
Chasing the Light Trails!
So how long did I spend on the bridge? I came there an hour or two before the sunset and I stood there till I could click light trails! And to get that big a light trail, you need to wait for a bus to move across the frame!
St. Basil’s Cathedral
I round up the post with the iconic St. Basil’s Cathedral, it is such a thrill to see some of the icons in real life, which I otherwise always saw in pictures!
Of all the things to fall in love while traveling, I fell in love with the Metro! I am crazy about metro trains, rides, stations etc that I get to experience in different parts of the world. My last tryst was with Paris but I didn’t get around to write about Moscow Metro. So that goes first!
The Metro Stations of Moscow are in a league of their own! When I posted the images on Facebook and Instagram friends commented that they look like the lobby of a five star hotel rather than a metro station! And they are right!
There are many guides on the internet which will list the top metro stations in Moscow. I would say start will the circle line (also known as Koltsevaya Line and use the Yandex Metro App to get around). Some of the most beautiful stations are on this line. Below is the list of things to know before you set to explore Moscow using the Metro!
How to buy ticket on the Moscow Metro?
Belorusskaya Metro Station, Moscow
With station names like Mayakovskaya and Novoslobodskaya how do you go around buying a ticket on the Moscow Metro? Actually it is quite easy. You buy the tickets by the ride, whether you wish to travel one stop or five or till the end of the line or whatever. Say you wish to go to Teatralnaya from Paveletskaya and come back, that will be counted as 2 rides. So simply tell the person behind the counter you need two tickets and you are good. Now if you wanted to go to Belorusskaya from Dinamo and back that is again two rides. So you need not worry about how far or less you are traveling, you buy by number of rides you wish to take, see it is easy.
Do they understand English?
Prospekt Mira Metro Station, Moscow
On most of the metro stations that I used there was a counter marked “We speak English” I can’t vouch for every station but I saw it whenever I bought a ticket and yes they indeed spoke English at that counter.
I also saw that they had a tab which gave the metro information in Chinese. But I soon bought a day card and that was the end of my buying individual tickets which takes us to the next topic.
How about day passes?
Day passes are available and I bought a three day pass which if I remember correctly cost me 440 Rubles. It is a great way to explore the city. Having a day pass makes a lot of sense for someone who likes to wander and change her plans every 15 minutes. I can get down anywhere I want and continue again without worrying about tickets. It is cheaper to buy a pass if you wish to use the Metro multiple times a day.
Are the station names in English?
Kievskaya Metro Station, Moscow
When I was doing the web search before my trip, many web pages said the metro station names are written only in Russian and the announcements are only in Russian. So you need to count the stations and get down. That is no longer true.
The name of the stations are written in English and most routes have announcements in English post the World Cup Football 2018.
Is photography allowed on the Moscow Metro?
Selfie Spot on Moscow Metro
Yes photography is allowed on Moscow Metro. There are designated selfie spots too. Moscow Metro has hashtags #photometro I had no problem in taking pictures anywhere on the stations.
Why is the station not exactly as listed in the beautiful stations list?
The Moscow Metro Sign
Apart from checking the name of the station you also need to check on which line they are. Belorusskaya on Green Line may not be as beautiful as Belorusskaya on Circle Line!
How bad is the rush hour?
Mayakovskaya Metro Station, Moscow
For most of the time it was okay, I have anyway seen the rush hour at the Delhi Metro. It was only once near the Gorky Park at the Park Kultury metro station I saw some serious lines!
Why do my pictures do not look like the ones in postcards/internet?
Novoslobodskaya Metro Station, Moscow
There could be many reasons for this. Many of the postcards are minus the crowd. That can be done only by shooting in very early or late hours or by digitally removing people from them! Also if you click at the stations now you are bound to catch some of the signage at the stations which you will not see in the post cards.
How do I pronounce the names?
Dinamo Metro Station, Moscow
That is the tough one, but you really don’t need to pronounce the names as you can by the tickets by the number rides you need to take.
Which app to use?
I used the Yandex Metro app and it works like a charm.
Moscow Metro Stations are so beautiful, they make the mind boggle! Also there are so many of them which are so beautiful. Tour operators offer tours of the metro stations in Moscow. But I would say you can easily do it on your own with a bit of research. It is also easy to use the metro as the signs are in English.
Alka and I went to Budapest together in November 2017. It was our first trip together as adults! We also left behind our family to take the break. We wanted to make it a yearly affair and I am happy to say that we went to Paris this November! I am keeping my fingers crossed for the next year too.
As this was the second trip, comparisons were bound to arise. But every trip is unique, Paris is Paris and Budapest is Budapest. But that wonderful feeling of going on a holiday with your sister was exactly the same!
This year Alka had a grand idea- that we both will wear sari and click pictures. The last time I wore a sari must have been 2004 or 2005 (and it is not a typo) as I used to work in a college where it was compulsory to wear a sari on the convocation. But I left that job in 2005. Before that I wore it at my own wedding!
In the end Alka could not manage a blouse for herself and I was the only candidate left with this grand scheme! I resisted it, I anyway don’t like getting clicked unless I am jumping from a cliff or something like that!
But if anyone could have convinced me, it is Alka. I managed to push it till the last day! But on the last day, there she was, and I could come up with nothing to dissuade her!
So on a cold cold day in Paris I was wearing a sari and going around in the metro trains! It attracted a ton of attention! But it was OK.
Once I wear a sari, I can deal with it though I can’t tie it completely on my own. But it didn’t take much time for Alka and I to get it done together. It was anyway mostly her doing.
I am totally stiff when it comes to posing for pictures. I was giving Alka a tough time, till I decided to jump, in a sari and all at the Louvre! After that I somehow lost some of my inhibition and enjoyed getting clicked, to the extent I can enjoy it!
My initial proposition was that we would click around the hotel as the day was way too cold to roam around in a sari even with an overcoat. But as Louvre was on the same metro line as ours, Alka convinced me to go up to the Louvre at least.
Another interesting thing is I am the one who likes to take pictures but this time Alka was behind the camera. The camera was the brand new Canon EOS M50 which I had on loan from Canon India. It is a mirrorless camera and I was keen to try it out on this trip.
And somehow from Louvre we hopped on to Bir Hakeim which is a cool bridge with an excellent vantage point of Eiffel Tower!
Alka wanted us to go near the Eiffel Tower too but by then I had enough. It was cold and it was drizzling. The sari was getting wet at the hem and I was finally getting uncomfortable. She readily agreed when I said I wanted to go back to the hotel and change!
Will I do it again? I think I have no choice on a holiday that I take with Alka. Was it fun? Yes it was and it was a little bit of madness too, going around in sari on an overcast cold day with temperature at 6 degree Celsius! But then what is travel without a little madness, particularly when you are traveling with your sister!
PS. Even though this was a personal trip, there were two collaborations that I need to mention. The France Tourism Board provided us with two 6 day travel cards for public transpor and 2 Museum Passes for 4 days; I had the M50 on loan from Canon India. A big thank you to both of them.
I have visited The Imperial Delhi so many times as a blogger that I have lost count! If I am in town and if they are doing an event I love to go.
There is a warmth about the place that makes it unique. I visited the place yesterday for the event ‘Clash of the Titans’ at the Daniell’s Tavern Restaurant.
The titans of the event are Chef Ved Prakash and Chef Mirza Munnawar Baig. Chef Mirza represents the Lucknavi taste and Chef Ved the taste of Purani Dilli! Together they create magic both for vegetarians and non-vegetarians. This is a special event which will go on till November 24. Contrary to its name, Daniell’s Tavern is the Indian Restaurant at The Imperial!
I was invited for lunch and it was a lavish affair! It started with thandai which is a refreshing drink. The starters for vegetarians consisted of Dhai Anjeer Ke Kebab, Teen Mirchi ka Paneer Tikka and Chukandar Aur Ramdana Ki Tikki. It is difficult for me to pick a favorite among the three, for me it is a tie between Dahi Anjeer Ke Kebab and Chukandar Aur Ramdana ki Tikki. Dahi Ke Kebab would straight melt in my mouth.
All the above was from Chef Mirza’s kitchen. The main course was Subz Dum Biryani. The rotis I tried were Ulta tawa ka paratha and Sheermal. For me this itself was more than enough but then there were Chef Ved’s specialties waiting to be savored.
His Subz Badam ka Shorba was amazing, I am going to look for the recipe to do something like it at home, I liked the flavors so much! His starters for vegetarians were Parda Paneer, Raseelay Kum Kum and Subz ka Panchmel. The Dal Dhungari was from his kitchen and once again I so want to know the recipe!
Both the chefs presented an outstanding affair! It was a heavy and satisfying meal! I can’t remember when I ate so much and with such relish! Playing tennis along with my daughter has its benefits! I am no longer scared of having a rich meal occasionally!
However, my favorite part of a meal are desserts and they were from Chef Ved’s kitchen! There was Rasmalai, Bharwan Gulab Jamun, Khoya Jalebi with Shahi Tukda! I tried it all in small portions! My favorite was the Shai Tukda!
And to top it all they gave me Meetha Paan as I walked off for home! I savored it after dinner at home. There are no photos of the pan, I ate it all.
You can try the dishes from the heart of Hindustan and relish the authentic flavors of Dilli and Lucknow with Clash of The Titans at Daniell’s Tavern.
Venue: Daniell’s Tavern, The Imperial New Delhi
Meal for two : INR 6000 + taxes without alcohol
On from 17th November – 24th November 2018
Time: 6:30pm-11:45pm; only for Dinner
PS. I was invited as a blogger by the Imperial Hotel for the event.