Crossing the uncharted territory: Chaari Dhaand

Its 4 am and I am driving on a surface that looks more Martian than that of our planet. The baked, grey earth over which we are driving is the Rann of Kutch. The stars are shining overhead in an ink black sky. We have no maps, no road signs or signals, no GPS coordinates…

A sip of coffee in Coorg….

Kodaimelanadu or Kodagu or Coorg: the name itself conjures up images of verdure – gushing cascades, babbling brooks, green hills, gorgeous dales, gurgling rivers all together flaunting the munificence of Mother Nature.  Oh! Add coffee plantations to it. A compulsive coffee drinker like me cannot find a better place than Coorg, for a sip. After…

My first impressions of Israel

There would only be a handful of places that can evoke as many emotions as Israel does. Its breathtaking landscapes, cultural history as old as tales can go, the eerie stillness of the deserted landscapes and the far north, the ancient streets of Jerusalem and Bethlehem, and the cultural kaleidoscope that the cities are, and…

Inside ancient Jaffa

It’s a balmy evening on Jaffa’s sea-front and I’m in a busy restaurant overlooking the ocean and a jumble of small fishing boats out for their daily catch. The table is spread with a feast of salads, and on the side is pita bread with the most loved Israeli recipe hummus. On the promenade in…

Masada: A fortress of myth

In the midst of that almost Martian landscape emerges the fortress of Masada, like a mirage in the Judean desert. A barren landscape, the Dead Sea in the distance, and perched on the top of a mountain, a centuries-old fortress holding tales of a fall of a Judea empire and rise of a Roman one.

The gay abandon of Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv is young, hip, liberal, and a city always bombilating with energy. The high octane vibe of the city is always, almost tangible. And as the day sets over the Mediterranean coast, the walkway of Tel Aviv pulsates with its famous residents, and the start-up city jumps and jives as the music from the…

Haifa and its many ideas

Haifa, the sun-splashed metropolis, some half an hour from the historic city of Akko, has a hip side to itself which waits to be discovered. Perched between two important destinations of the biblical significance, Nazareth and Akko, Haifa rarely figures as a tourist destination and is treated more as a stop-over. Until recently, Haifa was…

Getting spoilt for food in Akko

Akko, an ancient seaport in Northern Israel, packed with tales of war, culture, faith, and a history spanning for over a century, serves up mouth-watering meals from dueling hummus shops to indulge worthy seafood restaurants. As a traveler looking for Middle Eastern culinary experience, Akko leaves you spoilt with choices and chances. Your quest for…

Akko and its thousands of years of history

An ancient city in the far north of Israel, Acre or Akko is one of the oldest cities in the world, with more than 5,000 years of existence and imprints from the greatest of empires in history. Romans, Islamists, Moors, Crusaders, Ottomans, you name it: They were all here. And so were the great explorers…

My first impressions from Bethlehem and West Bank Wall

Bethlehem is more than a religious duty or a romantic view of a church. It has life, and stories that speak even from its walls. Looking back I wonder, the million-plus tourists and pilgrims who come every year to Bethlehem, what thoughts do they take back? What thoughts do you have about Bethlehem? Being up and close to the Israel-Palestinian conflict Bethlehem evoked many thoughts in me. In this blog I bring my first impressions of Bethlehem and the West Bank Wall.

Jerusalem: A photo journey

Is it even possible to capture the beauty of Jerusalem in just one post? For history and spirituality, few places come close to Jerusalem. It’s an uncontested crucible of faith, infinitely fascinating with unfathomable complexities, and intertwining tales of co-habitation of cultures. So can one bundle all of one’s thoughts and observations in one blog?…

Within the walls of Jerusalem

Before Columbus, they say, Jerusalem was thought of as the center of Earth. Today, the treasured, sacred lands of Jerusalem, where the three monotheistic religions found their roots, still remains the center, albeit of multicultural dialogues and global diplomacy. The fabled walls of the holy land enclose a tangle of sacred buildings, a colourful bazaar,…

Switzerland’s sweet-heart, Lucerne

To travelers, Lucerne conjures many sights and feelings. Tranquil, pristine, and nestled at the foot of Mount Pelatus, Lucerne has long been the tourism capital of Switzerland. With the old wooden bridges with centuries-old paintings, a church with a white-faced clock and gold hands, the old town with narrow lanes housing some secret old apothecary…

The harmony of Colmar

The trip to Strasbourg was a relief. While Paris was blanketed in gray smoke, Strasbourg came out as a surprise with occasional fluffy, white clouds, patches of clear, blue sky, and sunbursts interspersed with rainbows. It was precisely this which made me extend my stay in Strasbourg. The feeling of sitting leisurely, outside the splendid…

Freiburg: Germany’s huge eco-gem

Sitting at the foot of the Black forests wooded slopes, Freiburg is a sunny, cheerful town, adorned with cobblestone paths, and café rimmed plazas. The whiff of medieval charm, cheerful city under the shadows of Black forests, and delicious food could be a reason enough to pencil in some time to feel the warmth of Freiburg.

Bruges: A fairy-tale sojourn

Romantic cobblestoned streets, dreamy canals, crooked bridges, comfy sidewalk cafes, houses looking like made of gingerbread, charming market square, and an eclectic mélange of art, culture, and history, sure no city can get more lovey-dovey than this. Bruges has for long been pulling visitors with its medieval world charm. And all one needs is a leisurely stroll to enjoy this Belgian city. Bruges is so small, and packed with heritage, that there is absolutely no need to rush or get stressed to see everything. Bruges feels a museum, seamlessly alluring one with its splendid church spires, and the old fairy-tale, regal French touch.

Heidelberg: Town that inspires artists

Ever wondered that artists, authors, composers, and painters would come, see, and get inspired by a ruined castle by the river. And this would set German art and literature to take new wings. This is an inspiring tale of Heidelberg. Heidelberg is a quintessential German town nestled in the Black forest, with half-timbered, and Baroque…