“The book of nature has no beginning, as it has no end. Open this book where you will, and at any period of your life, and if you have the desire to acquire knowledge you will find it of intense interest, and no matter how long or how intently you study the pages, your interest will not flag, for in nature there is no finality.” ― Jim Corbett
I always have been curious about life of legendary Jim Corbett, who was famous both for his hunting of man eaters as well as for wildlife conservation efforts in the Kumaon region of Uttarkhand. It was his endeavour to protect the wildlife of Kumaon region that led to the setting up of Jim Corbett National Park 1936 (formerly known as Hailey National Park). I had been planning to visit Jim Corbett National Park with family for a long time now, but as luck would have it, it was with my fellow women traveller friends that I went off on an almost impromptu long weekend getaway some time ago.
Neemrana Hotels is widely popular for providing a non-hotel hotel experience combining the off-beat heritage with culture and laid back yet warm hospitality. The Neemrana Fort Palace in Neemrana, Alwar, Rajasthan has become an iconic property internationally for travellers visiting India, particularly Rajasthan. I have had the pleasure of spending time at all 3 of the Neemrana hotels properties in Alwar, Rajasthan :- (1) Neemrana Fort Palace (2) Kesroli Hill Fort (3) Tijara Fort Palace, and I would have to say that though, overall, all of these properties offer the ‘Neemrana’ experience, each one also has its distinctive charm. A lot of my friends and readers have asked me individually about which property to choose while planning a getaway from Delhi. I thought it best to share the various queries as well as points in a Q&A form.
Holi is one of the most well-known Indian festivals the world over, characterised by playfulness, colours and bonding over poetry, songs & dancing. People from all over the world visit India to celebrate Holi, specifically the version played in North Indian region of Uttar Pradesh. There are many forms in which Holi is celebrated all over India, like West Bengal’s famed Shantiniketan ‘Dol’ celebrations or like Hola Mohalla in Punjab. In the hill state of Uttarakhand, Holi is celebrated over many days in the villages of Kumaon region in what is known as Baithaki Holi. This Holi, I travelled to Jim Corbett National Park in Ramnagar area of Kumaon and among many other experiences, playing Baithaki Holi was one of my most enjoyable & cherished experiences. Sharing my #baithakiholi experience with all readers here.
The winters in North India provide an excellent opportunity to explore the majestic state of Rajasthan with its diverse culture, royal legacy and arid yet fascinating landscape of aravalli mountain range, deserts and even the flat dry landscape. Every year we take a family road trip through Rajasthan covering atleast 8 days. However, this year due to personal commitments, we had to drop the idea of a long road trip. But wanderlust and the desire to take a break from the city, made us decide to take atleast a short break to Alwar region of Rajasthan, which is the neighbouring to Delhi (and actually part of NCR) and has many easy getaway options from Delhi. We decided to spend a long weekend at Tijara Fort Palace by Neemrana Hotels in Tijara, Alwar and it turned out to the be much needed refresher for our family which took away steam from all the pressure of personal commitments we are facing.
“Sunrise looks spectacular in the nature; sunrise looks spectacular in the photos; sunrise looks spectacular in our dreams; sunrise looks spectacular in the paintings, because it really is spectacular!” ― Mehmet Murat ildan
As a city dweller, one of the major misses in daily life is watching the sunrise; even though I am early riser and make it a point to do yoga at the crack of dawn, the high-rises and all the concrete chaos of the city make it impossible to catch a good glimpse of sunrise (or even sunset). Therefore, I relish these nature’s spectacular shows while on my travels. It was an absolute delight to watch sunrise in Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu on an early morning boat ride in the sea.
Pinjore Gardens (renamed as Yadavindra Gardens) is a historic 17th century garden located in Pinjore city of Panchkula district, Haryana, India. It is quite popular local attraction in Haryana and also Chandigarh. Since it is located on the Ambala-Shimla Highway, it’s a popular pitstop for travellers and I happened to take a break for lunch here on my way back from a work trip in Himachal Pradesh some time back. The Pinjore Gardens is said to be one of the well preserved examples of landscaping style of Mughal Gardens. I certainly found the Pinjore Gardens to be a nice place to relax on a sunny winter day. architectural style, which was renovated by the Patiala Dynasty Jat Sikh Rulers.
The National Philatelic Museum in New Delhi, India is a nice treat for philately and snail mail lovers. It is located in the building complex of India Post main office in Dak Bhawan, Sansad Marg (Parliament Street), New Dehi. I visited the National Philatelic Museum on a cold winter day and it was interesting time spent learning about the history of air mail, stamps and realising how much progress we have made since the days of post via pigeons and human delivery.
If you are a snail mail lover and someone who is into postcards, letters and stamps, then visiting the National Philatelic Museum shall make for some interesting moments. The Museum is located at the back side of the headquarters of India Post at Dak Bhawan in Parliament Street, Delhi (Pin – 110001). The history of airmail in India as well as a glimpse of how post service used to be before the air mail revolution is exhibited here. However, majority of the exhibit is dedicated to wide array of postal stamps and they make for a fascinating view – from commemorative stamps on /science, Nature, Country Joint cooperation, public figures, military, states, culture; almost every aspect of life and civilization has a stamp commemorated to it!
One of the interesting features at the Philatelic Museum is the option of getting MyStamp – One can get personalized stamp with own image against a standard background printed for a fee. These stamps are issue stamps – meaning they can be used as postage! (Talk about narcissism in post!) The souvenir counter at the museum also has postcards, diaries, calendars, coffee table books etc related to India Post for buy. However, what is more interesting are the special philately postage stamps one can buy at the philately counter, which is located in the main building. I got couple of interesting stamps on my last visit and am planning to visit again.
Location : National Philatelic Museum (at the back side in complex of Dak Bhawan)
Dak Bhawan, Parliament Street, New Delhi – 110001
Opening Hours : 10 am to 5 pm except Sundays
You may like to read my experiences on other interesting Galleries and Museums in Delhi:
Chandi Devi temple in Haridwar, Uttarakhand is a revered Hindu pilgrimage site in Haridwar, Uttarakhand, India. Haridwar is an ancient town and a prime pilgrimage destination for Hindus and has many temples, of which Mansa Devi is one of the primary piths (or pilgrimages). Therefore, it sees busy footfalls all-round the year. Haridwar also happens to be my second home and I keep visiting it regularly. This time around, we had some extended family members coming to visit us in Haridwar and on their agenda was religious tour of the city. So we took them to visit Chandi Devi Temple, along with the usual Har ki Pauri. I am sharing my travel notes for the benefit of religious traveller or anyone wanting to visit the Chandi Devi temple when in Haridwar.
The capital city of India -Delhi is a city of 7cities. Tracing its historic lineage from the time of the ‘Pandavas’ of the epic Hindu Mythology Mahabharatha in which the city of Delhi is mentioned as ‘Indraprastha’ – capital of the Pandava kings, archaeological research points out to the city being the capital city atleast 7 times, beginning from the Tomar dynasty in 9th century to Lutyens Delhi of British rule. Being a Delhi resident all my life, I find it fascinating that there is still so much to explore around the city for a heritage lover like me. I had been planning to visit Tughlaqabad fort for a long time and there could not have been a better day than a sunny winter morning to do this. TheTughlaqabad Fort and mausoleum of Ghiasuddin Tughlaq are what remains of Tughlaqabad – considered to be the 3rd extant city of Delhi.
The best part of driving holidays or road trips is that one can set the pace of the holiday, relax and unwind whenever the mood strikes. Ofcourse, it takes a bit of last minute re-booking while on the road. On our winter family road trip through Mewar region (Route taken Delhi – Udaipur – Ranakpur-Kumbhalgarh-Mount Abu-Chittorgarh-Nathdwara-Roopangarh-Delhi), we decided to book ourselves a luxury or boutique hotel on our last leg of the trip, so as to treat ourselves to the best before we wind up the mega driving holiday. We chose to avoid Jaipur, which gets too touristy & crowded in December/January months and instead chose to stay at Roopangarh Fort in a small village around 25 kms off the main National Highway NH 8. It turned out to be a good decision as we absolutely loved the property, offbeat location in a small village, heritage property, view, laidback hospitality of the staff and interacting with friendly locals.