Encharmed by the Pangong Tso

Long drives in the high altitudes of Ladakh evoke many thoughts. And while your body acclimatizes and deals with the lack of oxygen, your mind over-works and bombilates with thoughts and emotions. It was quite early in the morning that we had set off for the Pangong lake. With some 180 kilometers from Leh, it…

A Stok of tranquility in Ladakh

It is tough to find a corner not to like in Ladakh. Whether you are coursing through some popular routes, taking a detour to join the mountain shepherds, or hiking through some of the world’s most stunning mountain scenery, there remain two constant feelings of tranquillity and serendipity. And while the existence of best preserved…

The foodie’s day out in Istanbul

One thing that remained high on my mind in my four-day stay in Istanbul, was to sample as much food as I could. Istanbul is a melting pot of cultures, and all these influences pleasantly affect the food scene. This has evolved over years and mixed with different cultures that came and made this eternal…

Istanbul: The first impression

No other city in the world can claim a history as rich as Istanbul. No other city has been besieged so many times, saw the rise and fall of empires, and has been coveted by the most powerful. And no other city can claim the coveted crown of being the most multicultural in the world…

Buyukada, a Turkish idyll

I walked along the curving street edged along the walls dripped with Ivy. The silence was meditative, existing in such a contrast to the hubbub, and the salmagundi of cultures, and styles Istanbul is. Behind the walls, pines loomed above Ottoman mansions. With no sound but for my footsteps, I walked further in, till the…

Pamukkale: The Turkish castle of cottons

Pamukkale is a unique destination. Stretching for over a mile and a half, this dazzling white travertines and hot springs of calcium carbonate look splendid against the green Turkish countryside. It’s so easy to laze around in these sweeping limestone white cliffs, with dazzling blue pools. The whole experience is definitely more than being at some embellished geological formation. And possible nowhere on earth you can find such immaculately designed natural formations, with exquisite examples of man’s creations. Next to the pools are the remains of an idyllically located Greek-Roman spa city, Hierapolis.

History comes to life in Ephesus

I wasn’t surprised to learn that many travelers just travel to West Turkey primarily to visit Ephesus. Ephesus is one of the most well-preserved Roman ruins in the world, and no surprise it draws over two million visitors annually. A UNESCO heritage site, Ephesus is a window to life in ancient times. Ephesus grew from…

Bowing to the Apollo in Side

I set out early to explore the outskirts of Antalya, more to be on the wheels of history strewn on the Aegean coasts. My major halt was to be at the once-docile fishing village of Side. It’s just that the old vibes of Side have liberally refashioned to suit themselves to souvenir peddlers and restaurant…

Antalya: Shades of blue

Possibly my most indelible thoughts on Antalya came, as my flight swept over Turkey’s south-western coastline to Istanbul. Looking at the shades of blue and turquoise of the waters, my thought was ‘Ah, so that’s why it’s called the Turquoise Coast.’ I looked around the airplane, almost everyone was looking out, might probably be having…

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…