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Procrastination’s always makes for last minute plans, which puts strain on our pockets. Planning well ahead in advance, saves us from a lot of unnecessary expenses, and even leaves scope for savings on great deals. 

Planning at the last moment calls for high prices and low availability. There might be scenarios where you are left room, but to delay the travel plans due to unavailability. But dire situations call for dire measures. So, here are few tips to save money, while on the go.

Be Flexible with your flights: 

Availability as per our own comfort and convenience can’t be explored due to unavailability. It’s not unfortunate but can be taken in way to explore the unexplored. You might have to compromise on the luxury, you are habituated of, but you will get an altogether unique experience of traveling at odd times and that too in a budget.

You might get lucky, of travelling in absolute peace, which otherwise would have attracted huge crowd.

Get the job done through travel agent 

Delegate as much as work as you can. Look for a travel agent, to get things for you sorted. Use the resource, to get things done without you spending your already busy time on those stuffs. 

They are best in their job and will get you the best deals, without you scratching your head. You might even end up getting important connections, for your travel destination.

Go for combo deals – Combo offers for both airfare/trainfare and hotel accommodations, makes for miraculous deals, while booking at the final moment. 

The prices are relatively cheaper, saving a lot of hassle too, which is no less than a gift. When already late for packing, these offers will get you out of the tussle in managing time efficiently and smartly. 

Remain open to destinations: The freedom to choose destination of your choice might not be applicable at the last moment for you, but would definitely give a chance to travel the path less chosen. 

Look for the off-beat places and set the tone for exploring the unknown. It will take you to places, which you thought never existed. 

It will teach you to be flexible enough and give you learnings which are somewhere or the other connected with you individually. 

Get in touch with hotels directly – Online options may not give you the flexibility of timings, if you happen to reach at odd times. Contacting hotels directly, will open up opportunities. Speaking in person by dialling up on hotel numbers, might crack even better deals. 

Make best use of the stuffs, at your hotel room – Hotel food is costly, for which you will have to shell out lot of bucks. You can try making good use of the hot bottle kettle and toaster from the hotel room. You will get to have a quick snack and tea or coffee, or even can boil eggs. This will come handy for quick fixes, when hungry at uneven hours. 

Borrow stuff from hotel, which are not chargeable– To your sweet surprise, not many people are aware that you are free to borrow stuffs from hotel, which are not chargeable. Most of the stuffs lie idle, which can be utilized and there is no shame in asking for the same.

Ask for the last room in the hotel floor – It will turn out to be a great idea, to request for the corner room in the hotel. They usually come with larger areas, and better views. It is not considered an upgrade and will not require you to pay for that additionally.

With the tips shared above, saving money at the last-minute travel deals will not be an issue anymore. So, now you can focus on packing and enjoying your moment of vacationing. 

When all the travel deals and bookings have been carried out, you might worry about draining out all your savings for future expenses. To tackle this situation in an efficient way, you have the option of availing personal loan. Due to affordable interest rates, personal loans have become an ideal choice for consumers in recent years.

With the infusion of technology, applying for personal loans have become more easier than before. 

HDFC Bank Personal loan Interest Rate are the most affordable one to choose from.  The interest rate starts from, 10.75% p.a, which both salaried and self-employed individuals. Borrowers can avail loan amount up to Rs 50,000 to Rs 75 lakh.

Benefits of taking personal loan from HDFC bank:

  • The bank offers low rates for Government employees
  • Prepayment option after 12 months.
  • Range of branches across country
  • Eligibility for higher loan amount
  • The bank offers processing fee at discounted rates.
  • There is special offer for top corporate employees
  • Special scheme discounts for employees for large companies

Key Features of personal loans from HDFC bank

  • Loans for both salaried and self-employed professionals
  • Loan is available to individuals in the age range of 21 to 60 years
  • There is flexibility in the loan tenure for applicants ranging from 12 to 60 months
  • The loan is available at EMI as low as Rs 2,162 per lakh

HDFC Bank also offers special schemes for special category of borrowers, including borrowers associated with reputed organisations, banks or government employees etc. Few of the schemes are mentioned below:

  • Personal loan for Doctors
  • Personal loan for pensioners
  • Personal loan for salaried professionals
  • Personal loan Diva for Women Customers
  • Golden Edge Personal Loan

Applying for personal loan online at HDFC Bank is quite easy and simple. The user interface allows even the first- time user to get through the process of applying the personal loan, easy and convenient. The applicant will have to fill all the details in the application form and submit few minimal documents. 

On qualifying for the loan, the bank executive will get in touch with you shortly for further procedure. The online application has to a lot extent, eliminated the physical visiting of bank branches. 

Personal loan charges of HDFC Bank 

Part payment charges- After 12 months of loan payment, the bank allows part payment at 2-4% interest.

Processing fee- A processing fee of up to 2.50% interest rate, min is Rs1,999 with applicable tax. This fee is non-refundable from the bank.

Other Charges – Once your application gets approved, the bank will provide you a statement of other charges, on loan account. Some charges include EMI bounce charges, loan cancellation charges, late payment charges etc.

Pre-closure charges – If you have received some additional, which you are willing to go for closing the loan account, then the bank charges, 2-4% pre-closure charges, which is possible after paying 12 EMIs.

Now with all the features available at your disposal, there is no need to worry about getting short of funds. You can easily plan for your vacations and make the most of the moment, while HDFC Bank will take care of your financial needs, without putting a dent in your pocket.

The affordable interest rates, lets you easily repay the loan amount at your chosen convenient period. You can be rest assured about your lifetime savings, which you have been amassing over a period of time. Put all your concerns to rest and let personal loan take care of your needs.

The ultimate revelation of the trip to Mahabaleshwar

The first thing which comes to my mind, whenever I am reminded of Mahabaleshwar are the luscious Strawberry Farms spread across, giving you every reason to visit the place again and again.If you are a Strawberry lover like me, then you can fathom the sheer love and excitement of heading to the place, to witness them right in-front of your eyes and if lucky enough,you can get a chance to pluck them too.

Mahabaleshwar

Mahabaleshwar stands among  the top weekend getaway destination from Pune and Mumbai. Although it is referred to be situated on hills, it is on a plateau. The place is sure to bowl you over with it’s ever enchanting green valleys and hills.

Road is the only way to reach the place. Pune Airport being the nearest one and Satara, being the nearest railway station, and from there, local tourist bus or vehicle are the available option.

Mahabaleshwar

The place is thronged by tourists throughout the year. Every season has its own charm at Mahabaleshwar, which will never fail to amuse you, with its great combination of nature + adventure + heritage +great climate and things to do. So if you are planning to stay over, plan ahead in advance as the majority of hotels remain booked throughout the year. There are chances you may miss out on your favorite ones.

Mahabaleshwar

Mahabaleshwar is known to be visited mostly during monsoons to get the look of picturesque greens and spectacular waterfalls. We too decided to explore and be amazed by the beauty of the place. It took us 2.5 hrs from Pune to reach Mahabaleshwar. The duration might extend, depending on the number of stops you halt at.

Mahabaleshwar

Mahabaleshwar has served as the summer capital of Bombay Province during the British Raj. Considering a significant amount of time spent by the British officials here, various vantage points have been named after them. Out of various activities which can be planned while visiting the place, one of the key things to explore is it’s vantage points.

  • Wilson Point-Named after the British Governor of Bombay-Sir Wilson, this is the highest point in Mahabaleshwar at 1439mt where you can get a 360-degree view of the place. Both sunrise and sunset can be seen from this point.
  • Arthur’s Seat-A great trekking place which gives you the uninterrupted view of two distinct valleys of Deccan and Konkan. It is named after Sir Arthur Malet who was the first man to build a house at this point. It is considered to be the Queen of all points.
  • Lodwick Point-Originally known as Sydney Point, this point was rechristened in the honor of General Lodwick, who was the first British Officer to climb the hill. A memorial pole was erected by his son, to honor his father’s achievement. Situated about 5km west of Mahabaleshwar bus stand, the vantage point offers an unmatched view of Pratapgarh Fort and Elphinstone Point. A huge statue of Lord Lodwick attracts visitors in great numbers.

The place has plenty of other scenic points that one can add to their list. Babinton Point, Helen’s point, Rosamund Rock,3 monkeys point, Elephant’s head point, Kate’s point.

Mahabaleshwar

Venna Lake, Mahabaleshwar

One of the major scenic spot in Mahabaleshwar is a beautiful lake, which attracts tons of visitors. The lake was constructed by Shri Appasaheb Maharaj, who was Raja of Satara in the year 1842. Horse ride next to the lake and boat ride over the lake can be done here. Well, we were the ones who were admiring the serene beauty, munching over the sweetest corn, the place offered. There are many kiosks that sell local delicacies Strawberries, Mulberries, and knick-knacks. Engulfed by the aura and charm of the place, it was relaxing to the soul. It’s beauty made up for the tiring sight seeing’s.

Mahabaleshwar

Mapro Garden

Your visit to Mahabaleshwar would be unaccomplished, without visiting the Mapro Gardens. Go strawberry picking in the land of Strawberries, a highly recommended activity, when in Mahabaleshwar. Treat yourself to the fresh, juicy handpicked strawberries from the farms. The Britishers bought Strawberry plants from Australia and planted in Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar and today these strawberries are exported to various countries. The region has the highest production of strawberries in India. The visit to the strawberry farms remains the highlight of the Mahabaleshwar trip.

Mahabaleshwar,Mapro Garden

Mapro Garden hosts its annual Strawberry festival, during the Easter Weekends, which gives the visitors an opportunity to taste freshly grown Strawberries for free, bought by local farmers. With range of delectable served in the Garden ranging from Strawberry Sandwiches, Strawberry Pizzas, or Strawberry Bhel, all your senses will be in for a treat. This place is a heaven for foodie lovers.

Mahabaleshwar Mapro Garden

Mahabaleshwar

With greenery all around, Mapro Garden has a Chocolate factory, a Restaurant, a small nursery, a Children’s play area, and a retail outlet selling Mapro products. An auditorium here showcases the journey of Mapro products. From a range of real fruity freshness, Jams, Crushes, Candies, Bar Syrup, Mazaana, Sharbat, Topping, Lounge, you are sure to bonkers, choosing for you. Fruit Crush is the most preferred product in the Mapro Product range. You can pick your favorites by tasting them at the store. It can also be purchased online.

 

Mostly vacationers visit the place for a stayover. It has a complete range of Hotels to choose from, for every budget. For a laid back weekend, you need to plan your itinerary to cover major tourist spots like Pratapgarh Fort, Temples in Mahabaleshwar and various fun activities like paragliding, sports activities and much more to choose from.

Ours was a day trip, done perfectly.

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Lavasa City-India’s first planned Hill City, Resembling Italian City-Portofino

Lavasa is the place to keep the travelling distance short, though Pune has multiple weekend getaway destinations. Folks of Pune loves adventure and hence are always on the lookout to explore new places and it’s uniqueness.

I had a long stay in the city for a whopping 8 ½ years and was lucky enough to have the opportunity to explore the sight-seeing spots.  Lavasa was an abrupt decision, yet a trip which will be remembered for its picturesque surrounding.

Lavasa

Lavasa

Lavasa

Lavasa is hardly an hours drive from Pune, making it all the more go-to destination without fretting over on the long distance travelling chaos.

A Google search on the nearby destinations to visit and our closest neighbours advise at the 12th hour of finalising, made us travel to Lavasa-India’s first Planned hill station.

Perched at an elevation of around 2000 ft, Lavasa is best visited during the monsoons. Regardless, the scenic spot draws visitors throughout the year and that too in large numbers.

The breathtaking views on the way to Lavasa, compels you to leave everything around and just get absorbed at the moment.

The alluring landscapes casts, magical spell on you, drawing in more and more into its charm and magnitude.

Lavasa

The poised and tranquil aura was our host for the day on our visit to the place. The place is less crowded and thus cleaner. A perfect blend of beauty and infrastructure was our perfect recipe for soul-soothing rejuvenation.

It has many options of hotels to choose from if you wish to stay over.

Lavasa

The city of Lavasa is like none other. Dasve, the village has been replaced by Lavasa and therefore it is termed as Dasve Boulevard.

Technically inspired from a town in Italy named Portofino, the colourful hill town is such a delight to be around.

Lavasa has a street next to a beautiful lake and the vibrant tall buildings add to the charm of the place. It’s a small planned town, so there is not much to roam about in the city barring a few points.

There are close to no public transport for travelling to and fro Lavasa and therefore, own vehicle is a must carry.

Lavasa

Post the sight seeing’s, we headed to Ekaant Resort. The parking lot of Ekaant is itself one sightseeing spot and finally, we found the resort for family dining. There are many other cafes and eateries located near the lake. On the pedestrian built near the lake, there are an amazing collection of cycles to try your hands on. We booked the cycle,150 bucks for 20 min. One of the best ways to view the town.

Things to do in Lavasa

  • Water sports activities-Activities like Pontoon, Pedal Boats, Jet Skiing, bumper boats, water volleyball gives one an opportunity to indulge in a host of activities.
  • Thrilling activities like rock climbing, camping, trekking, paintball, rappelling brings out the best of your adventurous side.
  • With a wide range of eatery options to choose from, Lavasa offers a varied range of cuisines and dining facilities to satiate for the likes of every visitor.
  • The Dasvino Town and country club has tons of pf leisure opportunities, to keep one engaged in the most relaxing way. It includes World Class Spa, Restaurants, Pub, Gymnasium.
  • Be it a child or an old person, Lavasa serves all. Indoor Golf recreational and Learning Centre, is one of a kind unique entertainment option which will take you to a tour of an amazing world of Golf (Indoor Pitch and Putt Golf Course).

 

 

 

Sharjah, our final destination to explore the next Emirate on our UAE visit.

The getaway to the Emirate, was full of scenic views, engulfing us in the charm and bewitching escapades. Sharjah is home to the best museum and art galleries, hence Tourism in Sharjah is family oriented

It explains why UNESCO has declared  Sharjah, as the Cultural Capital of the Arab World in 1998, reaffirming in the year 2014, finally, it became Capital of Islamic Culture.

The Emirate of Sharjah concentrates on conserving culture and history, It’s the only emirate that shares its borders with all six Emirates.

The city promises an exciting holiday experience with an interesting melange of sights and activities.

Sharjah has forged ahead as an attractive and relatively inexpensive destination for the entire family.

 

Sharjah

Dubai

Our voyage of exploring the city commenced with The Blue Souk which is an iconic landmark of Sharjah City, built in Arabic style architecture, it has interconnected wings consisting of 6 shops.

Ground floors sell contemporary gold jewelry, watches, and clothes; while the upper floor deals in traditional and exotic items like carpets, pashmina, rugs, traditional gold, and silver ornaments.

There is no way you cannot feel tempted to get your hands on some of the finest artwork of Gold, and other metals. The prices here in Sharjah are comparatively less compared to Dubai.

Coming to the UAE and leaving without a few of your favorite picks of jewelry…..is not a good choice.

The designs will leave you, go bonkers. A mix of traditional and contemporary, catching your eyeballs with each piece.

Exploring the city continued with visiting Al Noor Mosque.

Onlooking Khalid lagoon at the Buhairah Corniche, the mosque is constructed in Turkish Ottoman style, which gives one a  déjà vu of the Blue Mosque in Turkey.
The 34 elegant domes of the mosque, which is in the perfect symmetry of its structure make for a pleasing visual appearance.
 Splendidly done interiors of the mosque will mesmerize you.
Visiting Al Noor Mosque is one of the top things to do when in Sharjah. Artistic architecture is so mesmerizing that there is hardly any chance that you will not get swayed by it

 

Sharjah

A long walk on a wide and neat pedestrian, built across the Khalid Lagoon, certainly offers some picturesque views of the Sharjah City Skyline.

A serene place and ideal for calm and stress-free moments rejuvenate you like none other.
Hosts of Sea-Gulls and Flamingos made their way in the spring season finally offering visitors the time of life.

The aura was non-challant.

The freshness in the air, with the cool breeze ruffling along, certainly leaves you to absorb at the moment.

Sharjah

Sharjah

We had the good fortune to attend the Annual Sharjah Light Festival.

The mosque and other structures were lit when the sun was past the skyline;

with artistically spectacular colors, perfectly engineered to infuse magic in the surrounding.

Technology combined with artistic creativity transforms it to make a grand spectacle.

This is the biggest highlight of the festival which draws visitors in mammoth numbers.

We had time constraint, but there are tons of places you can fit into your to-do list.

The city offers many cultural heritage sites; history and flora and fauna of the Arab world can be explored at length, besides engaging in endless options of attractions with family.
It includes; Al Noor Island, Al Mazaz Waterfront, Sharjah Aquarium, Desert Safari, host of water sport activities in the Beaches of Al Khan Beach to add to.

 A Day In The UAE Capital-Abu Dhabi

My experiences with travelling before and after my daughter and also before and after getting married have not changed much. All sorts of planning beforehand seem to take a back seat and impromptu decisions have worked best in rendering an excitement filled journey.

We could only spend a day, albeit the Capital City Of UAE, Abu Dhabi has tons of options to keep its visitors entertained and amused. The day started off sipping a cup of warm lemon tea, followed by heavy breakfast(as we had to leave for Abu Dhabi from Dubai, we kept ourselves full to avoid getting down every now and then, during the long and electrifying 90min drive).In a flash of time, we were ready to leave for Abu Dhabi.

Since it was a weekend, traffic tussles were waived off. Our entertainment partner during the blissful drive, was none other than world famous Bollywood music. There is nothing that can beat that. The tranquillity in the atmosphere made it even more enjoyable.

Our first destination for the day was Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. A Glistening Architectural Marvel and the only one that captures unique interactions between Islam and World Cultures. Named after the founder and President of UAE, late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, it is the largest mosque in the country.

The pious and holy place attracts tourists from across the globe. Keeping the sanctity of the religious place intact, the appropriate dress code has been decided upon to be followed before entering. Full-length dress covering hands too, with a scarf overhead. I absolutely admired it. My eyes were in absolute awe of the magnificent monument that it was. The tall minarets, the onion-shaped domes built in white marble added to the pristine beauty of the place. The place has enticed me to an extent that one visit lasting only for an hour and a half was not enough for me to get soaked in the calmness and the serenity of the place. Saturday being a weekend, witnessed a sea of tourists, who too were found glorifying the richness of the holy mosque.

As I have to cover other places of the visit too, I will dedicate a separate post to this Elegantly designed Mosque.

Our feet by then had travelled for long since the area of The Grand Mosque is huge and body in need of refuelling to get charged to explore the next spot. So the obvious thing to do at that moment for us was to look out for a congenial place to rest for a while, adjacently smack our lip’s over the local Arabian Delicacies. After a bit of research on that, we found ourselves one. The best way to understand the culture of the place is through its food. Mildly flavoured, yet substantially pleasing to the taste buds, cooked to perfection Mutton Madhabi was our chosen dish for the day, accompanied by flavourful dessert, Cream filled Kunafeh. Prior to it were served intricately prepared soups along with salads.

Loosening ourselves for a while, post lunch we headed to our next spot, The Ferrari World.

En-route to Ferrari World, we were being faced with this eye-catching artistically designed Aldar Headquarters building. A distinctive and innovative design comprising circular convex shaped facades.

 

Housing a galore of winning a mix of roller-coaster rides and adventures for visitors of all ages, the mammoth Ferrari World amusement theme park is one of a kind located on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. No wonder it holds the record for the largest space frame structure ever built.

I had to give a miss and opt out of the heart racing, high adrenaline thrilling rides and adventures this visit, for which the theme park is famous for, as Soha was in no mood to leave me alone. Hopefully, I get lucky next time.

Post exploring the top leisure and entertainment destination minus the thrill and adventure in the Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi, we headed to the Yas Marina Circuit which is connected to Yas Hotel. One of the striking architecture, embodying various key influences. Yas Marina circuit is the home to the annual FORMULA 1 ETIHAD AIRWAYS ABU DHABI GRAND PIX and much more.

Watching the formula cars racing, was our top most enjoyable experiences so far of our trip.

And the day ended on an impressive note. On our way back home, the stellar night was our host on that magical drive. Could you ask for more!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Dubai Through My Lenses-2

I would suggest everyone plan your itinerary ahead so that you are not lost like us, googling which places to cover in the short span of time. There is no dearth of places in Dubai for sightseeing. Whilst going bonkers over the places to choose from, here’s what we did.

Palm Jumeira

Resembling the Palm Tree, The Palm Island is one of the world’s most daring development. This man-made archipelago is distinctly visible from space because of its size. A drive through the island will make you wish to stop the moment and feel the royalness. Bright Clear Sunshine, natural beauty and high rises all around made us all the more to admire the beauty of the place.

A huge number of tourists along the bay area taking selfies with or without the selfie stick was a common sight. Well, we too managed a few, without disturbing anyone.

The rose-hued Palm Atlantis located at the top of the Palm is one of the most recognizable icons of Dubai. It’s Home to 5-star hotel, celebrity chef restaurants and selection of entertainment and leisure options.

Dubai Marina

The best way to explore Dubai Marina is to simply walk around it. The Marina has been built with several kilometers of walkways. Skyscrapers poised alongside the winding canal, Dubai Marina has the most fascinating buildings and attractions where visitors can relax. Luxury Yachts departs every hour for a tour of the area.

With many constructions still in development, the Dubai Marina is changing. The Latest development is the Dubai Eye which is going to open it’s door soon for locals and tourists. I hope next time I am gonna enjoy the ride too.

All you there!!! Nope, I am not scared at all. On the contrary, it excites me.

Kite Beach

Famous for the serene beaches, Dubai has quite a good number of them. Kite Beach is best known to be for kite surfers, water-sports and a list of beach activities.

The moment you name about beaches, Soha’s heart goes ga-ga and no wonder it’s an underlying pull towards the stunning stretch of white sands giving you an experience like none other. To say it “A Piece of Paradise” would justify my statement. The wide stretch allows your privacy even during the busiest days during weekends. Relax, Unwind and Make Memories.

Mall of Emirates

Will you believe, if I mention about Skiing in the land of deserts. Ahh!! Dubai is truly a land of wonders. Ski Dubai is the first indoor Ski Resort in the Middle East. At a temperature of -1 Degree to 2 Degree Celcius, the park maintains the temperature throughout the year.

It is a great option to spend a few hours, watching the ramp show of Penguins, Skiing, Snowboard, Zip Line, Tubing, Wall Climbing and many such ranges of winter activities.

 

It was one of the most memorable experiences for us to encounter the colony of King and Gentoo Snow Penguins. You should definitely visit the park to experience the magical wintery adventures however hot the outside temperature is.

 

Souks of Dubai-Meena Bazaar

“Souk or Souq” is the Arabic word which stands for the Market Place where any kind of goods is brought or exchanged. You can’t come to Dubai and leave without a bit of shopping. You must definitely pick for yourself local spices and souvenirs. Meena Bazaar in Bur-Dubai has lanes of shops where you can indulge in your shopping spree at unbelievable rates. While walking down the lanes, I forgot for a moment we are outside our country, for the reason that we encountered Indians at the majority of Shops. That’s so COOL.

We grabbed a few for us!!! :)I forgot to click a picture though. Hopefully next time.

There are other souks too, to explore which gives you the region’s blend of the old and new. They are scattered all over the city, which needs planning efficiently to save time and hassle.

 

Dubai Through My Lenses-1

Be prepared to get intrigued over by  Everything Superlative in Dubai. The Tallest, The Largest, The Shiniest, and The Most Expensive, Dubai is the second largest Emirate of UAE. The Land of Sea, Sand, and Sparkle all around, tops the list of Weekend Getaways in the Middle East.

Dubai’s Rich Culture and Warm Hospitality makes it a perfect Holiday Destination for all age groups. The best season to visit the Ultra Modern Region is from November to March. Dubai Shopping Festival held during these months makes the City more alive and happening. The weather during these months is pleasant and suitable for all kinds of outdoor activities.

Ours was an Impromptu Vacay to Dubai. I guess that way your adrenaline rush keeps you on toes to get the most of holiday time.

Add These Spots To Your Bucket List  For Sight Seeing When In Dubai

Jumeira Beach

I have an undying fascination for beaches and can spend my entire life gazing at the vastness of the sea and unending coastline. We spent half of our day soaking in the sun, admiring the clear blue waters of the Arabian Sea. My little chirpy Soha had her time of life, swimming at the shore.

The culture of any region is reflected through its food. And the best way to know that is to try it for yourself. So after a lot of discussion, we finally ended up ordering a few of them.

Traditional Fish Madhabi
Arabian Dessert-KUNAFEH
Kebabs

The uninterrupted view of the Icon of Dubai, Burj Al Arab, the buttery sand at the beach and the mouth-watering Arabian Cuisine accompanied by soulful Arabian music, was enough to hold us at the spot for long. An unparalleled experience, you should definitely opt for when in Dubai.

Burj Kalifa

With 163 Floors, This monument holds the record to be the tallest in the world and an engineering marvel. Unless you are in a hurry to move, give yourself time to fancy the amazing feat of engineering and architecture that this tower embodies.

Dubai Mall

Indulge in the Shopping Spree and Treat Yourself with all the luxury brands of the World at the Dubai Mall.

Another attraction at Dubai Mall is The Dubai Mall Aquarium and Under-Water Zoo which is very popular amongst tourists. The Aquarium is home to the most diverse creations of ocean life. Knowledgeable staff present there provides you with valuable info on different kinds of marine animals. The Dubai Mall Aquarium has been featured as the largest of its kind in the Guinness Book of World Records. We couldn’t take our eyes off complimenting the beauty of marine animals. It will set your heart to go and dive inside to meet those aquatic species face to face.

Well, there are some experiences, you can enjoy without spending a Dirham in Dubai. This was one of them.

Soha was happy to finally locate a place of her interest. The Candy Store. Can you imagine a shop(a big one rather) selling varieties of candies? Yeah, I was awestruck too!!!

 

The next thing you can’t afford to miss at The Dubai Mall is The Musical Fountain Show. With dimmed lights around the water body area and music to soothe your senses giving you a dose of pep, carried away by the day’s exploration of the sight seeing’s, is a perfect way to end your day.

From 6.30 in the evening till 9 pm, our evening was spent snacking, dining and delighting ourselves at  The Dubai Mall where this one of a kind Dancing Musical Fountain was a not to miss experience. You name it, and Dubai has to offer everything one can dream about.

Make sure to find you a spot where you can witness how brilliantly the lightings of The Burj Khalifa has been synced in accordance with the Music being played at the Fountain Show which gambles together, driving you to go fantasizing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s Why Dubai is Cited as Pearl of Arabian Gulf

Hypnotizing, Alluring, Captivating!!!!

That’s DUBAI.

A Conglomeration of Age-Old Traditions, Modern & Futuristic Ideas, and Ambitions, makes Dubai one of the favourite and most interesting places to Visit in the World.

With it’s Architectural Dynamism, Astonishing Fantasies, Panoramic Natural Scenery and A Perplexing Night Life. Dubai is often talked about as the Pearl of the Arabian Gulf.

The first thought of Dessert might leave you with the monotony of vast desert expanse of sand dunes with little or no sight of greenery. But-but-but, the bubble is burst at mere a glance of the city.

Built atop the sandy Arabian Desert on the Persian Gulf, Dubai is a Paradise for Tourists. All of Glitz, Glam and Exoticism, Dubai offers the best of everything to its tourists.

From a small fishing village to the Second Largest as well as the most populated Emirate of the UAE on the Arabian Peninsula, the city has come a long way to establish itself as one of the world’s most prominent business and trade centres. An important landmark in Dubai’s history was the discovery of oil in 1966 at Dubai’s Fateh Oil Field. Upon the first export of oil in 1969, the economy of the Emirate began to flourish. From the creation of currency and establishment of the largest harbour to the development of a strong infrastructure network, the city underwent several major transformations with the revenue raked in from oil and gas.

Dubai today stands tall and proud as a premier business and tourist destination, offering world-class infrastructure, awe-inspiring skyscrapers, best in class shopping, dining and leisure facilities and most of all crime free and expat friendly environment.

 

पहले आप पहले आप – It’s Lucknow

It’s Lucknow, the city which is the epitome of “तहज़ीब”.

Though my grandparents were native of Uttar Pradesh, I personally never had a chance of visiting the city, since my parents relocated to East in search of employment and settled there. And unfortunately, our ancestral home back in UP was demolished during the 1964 riots.

When we shifted to Noida from Pune last year, the first place I wanted to explore was Lucknow.

Lucknow, the name itself gives me a feeling of royalty.

The city renowned for its Nawab and Kebab connection oozes of “तहज़ीब” and “तमीज़” culture. Famous for its highly rich literature, fine cuisine, architecture, and the world famous chickan embroidery and zardozi, Lucknow is a delicious mix of the ancient and the modern.

It is a historic city, which has still kept it’s good old charm absolutely intact. Apart from gaining the title as Paradise of Food Lovers, Lucknow has been given other names too, such as “The Golden City of the East”, “The Constantinople of India” and “Shiraz-E-Hind”.

How to Reach There

Lucknow is well connected through all three modes of transport.

By Rail-Lucknow has 2 main railway junctions-City Centre and Charbagh. Trains from most cities halt at these stations.

By Air-Flights operate from various important cities to Lucknow.

By Road-Roads also connect Lucknow to various cities. The major highway that passes through Lucknow is NH-56, NH-28, NH-25.

I was completely in awe of the royal hues, polite mannerisms, shero-Shayari for which the Nawabs of Awadh should be given credit for. The combination of its rich tradition and modern growth in various sectors like retailing, manufacturing and commercial is the USP of Lucknow, the second largest city of Uttar Pradesh after Kanpur.

                              

Lucknow’s cuisine is also known as Awadhi Cuisine which has a unique Nawabi style. Biryani, Nihari-Kulcha, Roomali Roti, Warqi Parathas and many such delicacies exude the richness of the Nawabi culture. Being a die-hard foodie myself, I could not resist for long, the melting in the mouth, the succulent and tender Tundey kebabs. One has to try it themselves, to get the feel of those delicious kebabs. Several branches have been opened in the city, of Tundey kebabs, but I liked the ones in Aminabad Chowk.

The other variety of kebabs famous in Lucknow are- Kakori Kebabs, Boti Kebab, Galawati kebabs, Shami kebabs, Seekh Kebab, Patli-ke Kebabs, and Ghutwa Kebabs.Pheww…(I think I will  have to write a separate post dedicated to the variety of kebabs available in lucknow).

Chickan Embroidery
Zardozi Embroidery

 

Lucknow, also widely known for its authentic chickan and lucknawi zardozi. Both of these are stylish and delicate Indian embroidery. There is a huge demand for both these handcrafted embroideries in both India and abroad, which also accounts for a major part of the revenue of the state.

Ittar


Along with these, other small scale industries also find it’s placed in the town. Kite-making, Ittars(perfumes), Silver and gold foil work. Bone Carving products are also to look out for. You can carry them as souvenirs for your near and dear ones.

Clock Tower Husainabad
Clock Tower Husainabad

 

Roomi Darwaza

 

Satkhanda

 

Bada Imambara

 

Marvelous Architecture built during the Mughal Era stands proud and tall welcoming tourists all across the world. Roomi Darwaza, Bada Imambara, Sikandar Bagh, Begum Hazrat Mahal, Residency Park, Clock Tower, Chattar Manzil(Umbrella Palace) are few places we visited. There are many more than the list mentioned.

Do Visit the city, to discover it’s rich heritage and the royal legacy which has been preserved with all the love and warmth by the people here.

 

 

 

Famed as The Queen of Hills-Mussourie

Permanent migration of people from small towns to bigger cities for employment opportunities, higher and better educational prospects, political disturbance, inter-ethnic conflicts and even for a temporary stay to avail better medical facilities, has led major cities to turn into a concrete jungle where temperatures are soaring sky high day by day due to deforestation. To enjoy natural beauty in its full glory, one has to look out for a trip to nearby locations, to favor themselves of pollutant free, natural landscapes.

Living in Delhi and the NCR Region gives one the opportunity to explore hordes of places with scenic natural beauty, in all its charm, still untouched by the hustle-bustle of busy urban life. There are few flawless slope-stations close to Delhi, offering an extraordinary getaway with family and friends.

This summer vacation we decided to give, The Queen of Hills-Mussourie, a visit. Since we were seeking an absolutely peaceful and relaxing surrounding, we planned our trip after school vacations were over.

Considering the fact that all major hill stations get overcrowded during the vacation time, as holidayers throng to cooler locations to beat the heat, we strategized our stay at Mussourie accordingly.

And Voila!!! Things worked out exactly the way we wished. Our trip gave us the much desired serene and blissful surroundings to totally detox and unwind ourselves.

The +++++(pluses) of visiting the hill town after the vacations were

  • Close to Vacant Resorts, Hotels, Malls(which meant much better services and no queuing up for your turn).
  • No jamming at roads.
  • Neat sightseeing locations(which otherwise gets cluttered up due to littering during peak times).

How  to Reach There

Nearest Airport and Railway Station is Dehradun and from there a taxi can be hired or you can personally drive up the hill.

We opted for Shatabdi Express from New Delhi to Dehradun(which was much convenient) and took a friend’s car from there to drive personally.

Queen of Hills Mussourie

About 36 kilometers from Dehradun is Mussourie, a wonderful hill station situated at the height of 2005 mts above sea level in Uttarakhand. On our way up the hills to Mussourie, our close encounter with clouds crossing their way amidst lush green hills was a sight to behold. We were completely enamored by the Oaks, the Pines, the Deodars, the undulating tree-covered hills, and the panoramic view of the mountain rise, form layer after layer to the horizon.

The freshness in the air, the pristine beauty of the flora and fauna is breathtakingly fascinating. The steep inclines and the adventurous ride witnessing the soothing, pollution free surrounding, in the lap of mountains alongside relishing hot and freshly roasted, local sweet corn, en-route to the hotel left us completely mesmerized. We were lacking for words to describe such an exhilarating view of the valley down the hill.

                Queen of Hills Mussourie

I had a similar experience during my visit to Nainital around 20 years back, but I would like to give Mussourie a higher score in terms of steepness and inclines of the road, navigating our way(thanks to Google Maps) to our destination hotel.

Upon reaching the hotel booked for our 3 days stay in Mussourie, I gave myself a pat on the back for choosing such an apt room which had the most glorious view. Nestled amidst the rich, lush green surroundings, boasting of the most exclusive views of the hills, it had an aura of romance to itself.

Queen of Hills Mussourie

The weather was bright and clear and the diverse colors of beautiful nature were at prominent display. A leisurely stroll in the evening amidst the woods around of Pine, Cedar, Birch, and Deodar glowed green. The serene aura and the charm of mountains truly feed the souls of the peace-loving traveler like me.

On one hand, I was lounging in the silence and peace of the locale and on the other hand I was equally excited to explore the various beauty spots around the vicinity which Mussourie has to offer. The next morning we woke up to this picturesque view of the mists enveloping the mountain slopes and painting the sky a faint mauve. This called for savoring the garma-garam stuffed parathas or puri bhaji and to go along hot piping tea. Nothing could be more pleasant than this incredible weather. The climate in the hills is totally unpredictable and is never the same throughout the day. While we were still rejoicing the refreshing coolness, it was a bright sunny day, the next moment.

                                   Queen of Hills MussourieQueen of Hills Mussourie

By 10 am we were all geared up to move out of a super cozy room to explore the city of glorious views and the peaks.

Places to Visit

Queen of Hills Mussourie

Queen of Hills Mussourie

Kempty Falls

15 km from Mussourie on the Yamunotri road at an altitude of 450 ft, it has the distinction of being the biggest and prettiest waterfall located in a beautiful valley and is surrounded by high mountains. Kempty falls is very popular among tourists. This place offers a cascading view of water falling from 40ft. Both at the foot of the falls is refreshing and enjoyable for children and adults alike.

Queen of Hills Mussourie

Gun Hill

This place offers a beautiful view of the Himalayan Ranges and a bird’s eye view of the Mussourie Town and Doon Valley. A Ropeway ride to the second highest peak of Mussourie can be enjoyed here. The sheer thrill of the ride is memorable.

Camel’s Back Road

Shaped like the back of a camel, the road stretches from Kulri Bazaar near Rink Hall and ends at Library Bazaar covering a total distance of about 3 km. The main charm of this road is horse riding and walking and the sunset view of the Himalayas here is worth visiting. A lifelike resemblance of the Camel’s back can be seen from a spot near Mussourie High School.

Queen of Hills Mussourie

Company Garden

A picnic spot having a beautiful garden and an artificial mini lake with boating facilities is located at a distance of only 2kms on foot via Waverly Convent Road.

George Everest House

This house is the peak estate of Sir George, the Surveyor General of India. Sir George had his office and residence here. Mount Everest, the highest peak of the Himalayas was named after Sir George.

Lake Mist

About 5 kms before Kempty Falls on the Mussourie-Kempty Road is a developed good picnic spot with accommodation and restaurant facilities, boating is also available. The place showcases nature in an exquisite manner. With the Kempty Falls River flowing through it, Lake Mist has many small but beautiful waterfalls made by the river. This is an absolute gem in the Queen of Hills.

Lal Tibba

Famous for viewing long trails of major Mountain Peaks. It is located at Depot Hill in Landour, set at an altitude of 2290 mtrs above sea level.

Queen of Hills Mussourie

Clouds End 

Clouds End is the landmark to the geographical end of Mussourie. Located at around 7 km from main Mussourie city, it is best known for the pleasant scenic view of the hills enjoyable climate. A heritage building, built by the British in 1838 is also an attraction here.

I so wish the beauty of this place remains as flawless as ever.

 

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