8 Islands to visit before you’re 30

Don’t you often wish you had more time to travel the world? After all travelling is not just about rest, rejuvenation & enjoyment, but it is about much more than that. In a way it’s a beautiful journey of self-exploration, experiences and memories

So whether you like going places with your friends, family, or self, make sure you travel while you’re still young. Lose yourself to find your own self. Live like there’s no tomorrow. And whatever you explore today will last a lifetime with you.

There are quite a few options that come up once you have decided to travel. An Island destination proves to be an ideal one since it has something in store for everyone. Whether, you want to layback and sip some Pina Colada by the sea, or enjoy some thrilling water sports, or sit by the beach and gaze at the starlight sky, or go on an adventure by hiking up a mountain close to the beach, or just cuddle with your partner as the sun goes down, or rejuvenate yourself with some spa activities, or indulge in some delicious cuisines, an Island destination has it all. Continue reading “8 Islands to visit before you’re 30”

Top 5 beach outings for team building activities

What is going to work? TEAMWORK!

We all know that teamwork is very essential to the systematic and productive working of any organisation. In fact, it is the core reason why companies flourish exponentially or falter drastically.

Companies know for a fact that team building outings and exercises help in increasing the company productivity by fostering communication and increasing team spirit. What they fail to realise is that team-building activities give them a chance to not only shape their teams to their liking but also get to know their employees on a much better level. Team shape, trust and understanding between the company and its employees is of utmost importance for the long-term growth of the firm and its members.

Why is it important to plan an effective team building outing?

We see a lot of companies these days getting involved in team building activities and outings. The only problem here lies in the fact that companies assume that their job is done by just taking their employees for an outing. What they fail to understand is that a well thought out outing, keeping in mind employee preferences, is what determines the success or failure of the whole outing. Hence, a well-planned and organized outing for team building will go a long way in building trust and co-ordination within the company employees, as well as in keeping them satisfied. Continue reading “Top 5 beach outings for team building activities”

Adventure Holidays

Breaking into a sweat… and not from the heat

Skiing, trekking, white water rafting… seek and you shall find the exact sort of adventure holiday that you are looking for not that far from your doorstep. That’s right, you don’t have to fly to Switzerland to ski or head for Kilimanjaro to go on breathtaking treks. India has amazing destinations that can give you the adrenalin rush and Facebook photos that you crave.

Here are just a few that we have picked:
Skiing

Come winter and the beautiful, snowy slopes of north and north-east India are frequented by skiing enthusiasts from within the country and around the world. Some of the most popular sites, namely Solang Valley, and Dayara Bugyal and Auli in Uttarakhand, have institutes to teach amateurs and those who wish to upgrade their skills.

Skiing

Kufri in Himachal Pradesh hosts an annual winter sport festival courtesy of the tourism department, so the skiing is supplemented by more fun winter activities, like toboganning. Also in Himachal Pradesh is Narkanda, with slopes ideal for beginners and steeper ones for more skilled skiers. Continue reading “Adventure Holidays”

Madurai: A Town Where History is Part of Everyday Life

For a holiday in south India soaking in history and heritage, it would be pretty difficult to beat Madurai. The town is easily accessible and the main attractions can be covered in a couple of days, with time to spare for healthy and delicious breakfasts (the Tamil people seem dedicated to chutney innovations and it’s worth it) and a spot of shopping.

Madurai City

History:

Madurai was most prosperous, in wealth and culture, under the first and second rule of the Pandya kings, and later under the Nayaks.

Apparently, the town traded with ancient Rome and Greece and flourished under the Pandyas, till it was captured by the Cholas in the 10th century. The Pandyas took it back in the 13th century and built it up as a literary hub. Continue reading “Madurai: A Town Where History is Part of Everyday Life”

Luxury Trains in India

The Journey and The Destination

So, someone had the wicked-good idea of converting the journey, and not just the destination, into a special holiday. And thus luxury trains were born. And if any place can fully capture that awesomeness of a train journey, it has to be India, with its forests, palaces, temples, people and legends.

But not all trains are equal, so we’d like to show the green signal to the outstanding ones below. And while the carriages are distinctly designed in old-fashioned opulence, including personal butlers, they are also fitted with all the modern necessities—wifi, spa, gym etc.

1. Palace on Wheels:

The coaches are fitted like a Maharajah’s saloon and tellingly named after provinces in Rajasthan. Decorated with miniatures from different traditional Rajasthani schools, royal emblems and crests, inlay work depicting hunting scenes, oil paintings and Mughal-inspired artwork, intricate carvings, zardosi, and metal and foil work; the train boasts an astounding range of styles from this region and is a truly royal way to travel.

Palace on Wheels

Places to see:

The one to two week itinerary of the Palace on Wheels is designed around the Rajasthani royal circuit—Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, battle-hardy Chittorgarh, Jaisalmer, Bharatpur Sawai Madhopur and the Ranthambhor National Park—and culminates in the poignantly beautiful sights of Agra.

2. Royal Rajasthan on Wheels:

An upgrade on the Palace on Wheels, this version steps up the luxury with coaches aptly names after the palaces of this princely state. Continue reading “Luxury Trains in India”

Bridal Look

You are doing the background work right—exercise, eating and beauty sleeping—so you are already halfway there to being breathtakingly beautiful on the big day. Now, for the carefully-studied advice to ensure that you are also the on-trend bride.

Make up:

Brides are channelling Deepika ‘Mastani’ Padukone’s heartbreakingly dewy natural look, with barely done eyes and an almost-nude lip. Of course, we are not fooled, so invest time in finding the right palette to let your natural beauty shine through. A light foundation and powder to conceal any blemishes, and mineral eye shadows for shimmery texture, without being loud. Keep the lips neutral in light pinks, peach or toned-down coffee.

Make up

Almost taking centre-stage today is the brow, so fill them in a strong shape. For inspiration, look no further from superwoman Amal Clooney.

If your diva self from a couple of years back doesn’t let you go off the smoky eyes and red lips, go ahead and indulge at your mehendi ceremony. Continue reading “Bridal Look”

Offbeat Honeymoon Destinations

Heavenly Honeymoons – Build Forever Memories With That First Trip Together

How glorious to get away with your new partner after the seemingly endless, and quite definitely a little stressful, manoeuvrings of the wedding. Couples today like to plan this most anticipated outing together based on a shared interest; sometimes it is food, sometimes it is history, and sometimes adventure, and it always comes with the excitement of that first shared experience.

San Sebastian, Spain:

Set near the France border town of Biarritz and a few hours by car/train from Barcelona, the coastal Basque town of San Sebastian offers easy access from other popular destinations. But once you are here, it would take a great deal temptation to pull you away from this quaint coastal town set on the Bay of Biscay that is a foodie seventh heaven. Apart from the beautiful beaches and an easy-going atmosphere, San Sebastian is a base for globally top-rated chefs and is home to an upscale tapas called the Pintxo. So, it could be a decadent vacation with great wine and world-class food.

San Sebastian, Spain

Galapagos islands/Peru, South America:

How does swimming with sharks and sea lions sound? Or hiking up a mountain for spectacular views of an ancient citadel? For adventure fans looking for a honeymoon to remember, the Galapagos islands, which is in Ecuador territory, or a less than three-hour hike up Peru’s Huayna Picchu, which offers breathtaking views of the Inca civilisation structures on the nearby hill of Machu Picchu, will surpass all expectations. Continue reading “Offbeat Honeymoon Destinations”

A Spin on Wedding Food

Gone are the days of the wedding cuisine comprising cauldrons of biryani and racks of delicious kebabs. Today, the menu feels like a carefully chosen extension of the location and decor, so it is refined, but also playful.

Five-star caterers across the country offer a variety from Indian with a twist, to East Asian, European or Arabic. The common denominator is freshly sourced, good-looking ingredients that look too good to eat, in flavours that are too amazing to forget.

Stay Indian:

Rasam shots anyone? Or mini samosas and idlis, maybe? Forget state-wide variations, most states have cuisine that is exclusive to a particular region, so the range that an Indian menu can offer is mind-boggling. The trick is to jazz things up, so that homey food becomes contemporary and global. So, whether it’s lamb seekh paired with apricot chutney, masala-tossed asparagus, trio of rice flavours in lemon, tamarind and coconut, or a live jalebi counter and a gulab jamun pyramid, Indian wedding food now comes with a generous side serving of flair.

jalebi

Oriental:

While most of us Indians can never get our fill of Oriental food, it has definitely come a long way from the splash of soya sauce on noodles. Continue reading “A Spin on Wedding Food”

Monsoon and Green Goa

It is difficult to keep a good thing secret for too long anyway. While for decades everyone headed to Goa’s famed beaches in Anjuna, Candolim, Vagator and Colva, and on tours of the churches and old bungalows, visitors are slowly discovering that there is a charming verdant personality to this tiny state that comes alive with the rains.

Indian monsoons give a different dimension to the land anyway. In Goa, you feel that nature turns green in an almost sci-fi manner; it’s so lush.

green Goa

Thankfully, Goan hoteliers agree that the tourist season is no longer confined between October and May. We may have fewer parties and events to head to, when the monsoon starts in mid-May and hits its stride in June, but that means it is more tranquil. Continue reading “Monsoon and Green Goa”

Five Exotic Spots For The “I Do”

Accessible global travel and far-flung relatives, among other things, mean that a wedding destination today is given almost as much thought as the bridal trousseau. And why not? The ‘once in a lifetime’ event warrants a location that will forever conjure up ‘remember how the waves were beating against the shore while we made the vows?’ sort of happy memories.

From the boho chic to the opulent, here is a bouquet of special spots that will add a rare and romantic magic to the ceremony, be it traditional Indian or a multi-ethnic mix. And it’s all largely al-fresco, so nature lends its abundant beauty to the wedding decor.

Ras Al Khaimah, UAE

Ras Al Khaimah, UAE: Add romance through the mystery of old Arabic tales in this quiet Emirate, which has a beautiful beach, desert dunes and cosmopolitanism, without the price tag of nearby Dubai. Ras Al Khaimah has a rustic charm, but boasts several star hotels and classy beach resorts that will pamper the special guests. Continue reading “Five Exotic Spots For The “I Do””