The Wonderland is YOU!!!

The most endearing thing in Life is to be able to wake up with optimistic notions, unabated smile, balmy heart and an aura that exudes positivity. One might say that’s just not possible with all the stress endowed with current lifestyles and all kinds of responsibilities that Adulting brings with time.

And that is also the reason why it is becoming so rare to find, such a simple delight but most of us are struggling to find it on a daily basis. Happiness is all contained within you, you just need to identify and unleash it.

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Happiness is the most beautiful gift you can gift to yourself. And it’s contagious, it spreads to people around you!!

To put in perspective, Berkeley Wellness recently shared a piece on happiness where Scientists and Researchers have defined happiness as having satisfaction and meaning in your life. It’s the propensity to feel positive emotions, the capacity to recover from negative emotions quickly, and holding a sense of purpose. Happiness is not having a lot of privilege or money. It’s a broader thing: Our ability to connect with others, to have meaningful relationships, to have a community. (The real relationships and social bonding not social media)

There is no dearth of researches that have been conducted in the past affirming that ‘Happiness’ cannot be bought with money, what makes one happy in the long run are relationships, experiences and contentment with Life. That contentment is not going to come if you keep spending hours, days, and months and ultimately years doing the same thing over and over again to earn money unless you have taken a bold choice of pursuing your passion. If every morning you get up and you are raring to go to work, it’s all good.  If not, then rethink. The Science of Happiness encourages people to begin with acknowledging ‘3 beautiful things / incidences’ that they believe make them feel happy and blessed on a daily basis. It’s also called the Happiness Practice, so if you’re really struggling, I’d suggest begin with the Practice.

I often read quotes by Robin Sharma, he is such an amazing writer (his books are awesome too!), two of the quotes are like etched in my brain – ‘Do not Live the same year 75 times and call it a LIFE’ and the other one – ‘Who you are becoming is more important than what you are accumulating’.

I hope your pursuit of happiness finds it’s goal soon.

Dedicating this piece to ‘Happiness’, I’m glad to share beautifully apt pictures in the series, the highlight photo of which is published above. These pictures were shot at Dhankar, Spiti Valley. Dhankar stands tall at an altitude of 12,774 feet. Dhang/dang means cliff, and kar/khar means fort. Hence, the fort on a cliff is popularly known as ‘Dhankar’. The confluence of Spiti & Pin Rivers from this height is incredible!!!

Hope these pictures bring delight and the spirit of happiness to you –

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Well, no denying that Childhood is the most precious and beautiful time of Life. The way these kids were playing at such high altitude and on the road which had no fences, no protection is admirable. Also, they were so happy to face the camera.

It was difficult for us to even get out of the car and fight the crazy wind. This also shows human body is capable of anything. In fact, Spiti is one place which makes me rethink the metro lifestyles.

To conclude, I would say never let go of the child inside you, for it will keep you alive.


Categories: Adventure, Experience, Himachal, India, Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

The Betul Beach – Where Sal meets the Sea

Photo Tour of the beguiling Betul Beach

A series of tranquil huts ensconced near River Sal in Salcette, South Goa luxuriant with coconut grove and other fruit trees; that’s Betul village. And just across the river there is the beguiling Betul Beach. The sparkling white sandy beach is charming for more than one reasons – the River Sal meets the Sea here creating a beautiful sight, due to high tides the beach is adorned with beautiful lagoon (which will be visible in pictures) and lastly the view of hills on one side where one shall witness the ships moving towards the harbor and the villagers fishing is a sight to behold.

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On the margin of the River, Washing up it’s silver spray;  We will walk and worship ever, All the happy, golden day.

~ Tidings from the poem ‘Beautiful River’ by Robert Lowry

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The Beach was literally covered with shells of all colors and sizes one can possibly imagine! And it was too much fun to collect these with my two year old baby boy.

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That’s my little love – Aayansh 🙂 having a great time exploring the beach. Continue reading

Categories: Family Travel, goa, Photography, Travel Experience, Traveling with a Baby, Untraveled Routes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Why Mughals had Harem Quarters?

Harems were quintessential part of the Mughal’s palace. Last time I went to the Akbar’s Tomb in Agra, I observed the Harem Quarter was outside the immediate premises, I have seen Harem Quarters in other Mughal palaces too like the big one in Fatehpur Sikri. But the one in Akbar’s Tomb was small and it intrigued me as to why there’s a quarter in the mausoleum? Though the panel outside the structure said it was a Harem but later was used as ‘Hunting Lodge’ by Jahangir.

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The Kanch Mahal (Harem Quarters) outside the Akbar’s Tomb near Agra

And, in a quest to find out more here is what I discovered and it’s worth sharing.

‘Harem’ is derived from the Arabic word ‘haram’, which literally means sacred or forbidden / sacrosanct. Harems were separate quarters (proper living spaces) for women and the entry to these quarters was strictly prohibited for men other than the Emperor. The Emperor was the only adult male who entered the harem freely.

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Ain’t it beautiful enough to catch your attention! Just observe the intricate work executed with Jharokas, borders, balconies; To have such Mahal as your home, not a bad idea I say 🙂

There has been a lot of speculation about this part of the palace as first hand information was never available to historians. The second hand information was was laden with exotic notions, whims and fancies. This was because the outside world couldn’t fathom the arrangement of having separate living area for women folk under the same ceiling. Here is more about the subject :

  • Harems primarily composed of wives, female relatives, concubines, and were arranged in regard to their proximity to the Emperor.
  • The Emperor’s mother and chief wife enjoyed special position. Even foster mothers were given a position of importance. The rulers followed preferential treatment.
  • A large Harem was often considered testimony to King’s supremacy. Hence the more the merrier. It is believed at one time more than 5,000 women lived in Harems in Akbar’s palace (i.e. Fatehpur Sikri near Agra) however only about 300 were his official wives or concubines.
  • The Harem of the Mughal Empire was guarded by Eunuchs, as well as female warriors called Urdubegis. All the harem officers would be women or eunuchs.
  • Akbar was the first emperor to lay down rules for it and turn it into an institution. The harem was called Mahal and the chief officer of the harem was called Nazir-e-Mahal (in-charge of women quarters), there were daroghas (supervising officers) and other supportive staff. It was run as an administration within itself.
  • The Mughal women were very well educated not just in the religious texts but arts, sciences and warfare. And, apart from wives and concubines, lot of women played role of servants and hence the number of women in Harem at any given time was huge.

The Architecture Continue reading

Categories: Akbar, Art and Culture, Experience, Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 42 Comments

Special Feature – The Portraits

Portrait Photography is one of my favorite forms, it has so much potential for experimentation and the way it adds personality to a picture is just incredible. I’m glad to share some of the charmingly endearing ‘Portraits’ from the family 🙂

Beginning with the newest, dearest and cutest !


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It seems like yesterday, we were blessed with ‘Aayaansh’, at that moment we never knew what we will we call him or what kind of bond he’ll share with us, we were spellbound when we first saw him and from that moment to this we have been falling in love with our little Love every single day 🙂 It’s indescribable!!

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These innocent sparkling eyes is all I need to begin my day 🙂

Potriat - Charu Continue reading

Categories: Experience, Family Travel, Inspiration, Photography, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 54 Comments

How to make most of your ‘One day trip’ to Udaipur, Rajasthan!

A bundle of must have experiences at the ‘City of Lakes’

Udaipur city stands as a testimony to the living heritage and eternal legacy of the Sisodiya dynasty. Sisodiyas ruled the city for over 1200 years. The origin of Udaipur dates back to 1559 AD when Maharana Udai Singh met a sage who blessed the Maharana and advised him to build a palace at this favorably located spot.

Udaipur is a visual treat with it’s shimmering lakes against the backdrop of Aravali Hills, formidable palaces showcasing heritage and enticing structures with distinctive artwork.

Honestly, you must stay in Udaipur for at least 2-3 days to soak in the beauty but even if you can visit this beautiful city for a day, here is how to get the best of it –

Where to Stay?

There are several options located in proximity to Lake Pichola, depending on the tourist flow the charges might vary. The tariff lies between INR 2,200 – INR 4,000 for a decent room subject to further negotiation.

Placed in tiny lanes these hotels look precarious at the first sight but not to worry they are fine 🙂 So find a place close to Lake Pichola, you’re going to love the dawn and will have a dinner to remember overlooking the ethereal Lake. Almost all of them have open roof top restaurant where you can enjoy candle light dinner with the moon gazing at you It’s awesome!!!

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Wake up to a lovely morning !!!

Rent a Bike

One can easily get a Motorcycle for full day here at reasonable prices, you can choose from a variety of options! Having a scooter / bike makes movement much easier and adds zeal to the experience. You’ll need important documents namely – Driving License, Address Proof and Passport size photo for submission. They may ask for Passport / Visa if you’re a foreign tourist.

Let’s begin with Fateh Sagar Lake

Named after Maharana Fateh Singh of Udaipur and Mewar, Fateh Sagar Lake is one of the four lakes of Udaipur. The construction of this Lake first was completed under the supervision of Maharana Jai Singh in 1687, however it got washed away two years later in floods, was reconstructed by Maharana Fateh Singh in 1889.

The Lake is pear shaped, surrounded by Aravalli Hills on three sides and contains three small islands – the largest being Nehru Park, second island is also converted into a public park & the third one addresses Udaipur Solar Observatory, which is the best solar observing site in Asia. The islands are accessible by inboard motor boats.

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City Palace and The Charming Lake Pichola!

City Palace is a palace complex situated on the banks of Lake Pichola and has several palaces built within, the construction of these Palaces took over 400 years with improvisations from each succeeding ruler. Lake Pichola is the oldest and one of the largest lakes of Udaipur built by Pichhu Banjara during the ruling period of Maharana Lakha in 1362.

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City Palace

Taj Lake Palace stands impressively in it’s pristine glory amidst Lake Pichola. Built in 1746, once a pleasure palace of Maharana Jagat Singh II of Udaipur is today the majestic and magnificent Taj Lake Palace.

City Palace is an architectural blend of Medieval, European and Chinese styles. It actually comprises of 11 palaces, there have been additions to the original palace with change in the rulers. Main entrance is through the triple-arched gate – The tripolia, built in 1725. Continue reading

Categories: Experience, Family Travel, Heritage, Photography, Rajasthan, Udaipur | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 47 Comments

Sutlej- The Flowing Beauty

A morning date with the longest river in Himachal running 1500 kms…

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The longest river (in km) in Himachal Pradesh originates from Lake Rakshastal in Tibet, lying near Lake Mansarovar and south of Mount Kailash. The waters of the Sutlej are allocated to India under the Indus Waters Treaty between India and Pakistan, according to this treaty, India can utilize only 20 per cent of its total discharge of water.

On our recent road trip, we had this beautiful opportunity of spending sometime basking in the charm of Sutlej.

As the light began to touch Earth’s surface, the deceptive cover of fog came into light, it seemed as if the ‘Sutlej’ was asleep under the covers of fog, and the gradual rays were making an attempt to wake her up, slowly and beautifully….

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Keeps flowing, continues it’s journey, what come may.

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Just like Life, it goes on, just like the waves, you’ll never experience the same time again, enjoy every moment! Continue reading

Categories: Photography, Road Trip, Travel Experience, Untraveled Routes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Oh Dear! This is India.

A series of flagrant pictures that depicts ‘India’ as it is – seizing the audacious and unabashed moments from the vibrant streets of India. I’m glad to share the first one here

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The veil of Religion! Apologize for the low resolution, this one was clicked from a mobile phone, it was so crowded that holding the camera was super risky!

People here are ardent followers of ‘Gods’ and their dedication includes all kinds of prayers, fasting, and what not! Continue reading

Categories: India, Photography, Travel Experience | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 38 Comments

The Formidable Heritage!

The word ‘Heritage’ makes me relive our travel in Rajasthan. Rajasthan’s diversity is beyond capture in words – rich heritage, vibrant culture, majestic monuments with appealing history,  artistically sound, vast sand dunes, colorful villages, warm people and much more. Rajasthan is famous for showcasing the royal heritage of palaces, forts, havelis & desert safaris, offering a glimpse of it’s spirited culture.

For this week’s photo challenge I’m sharing pictures of Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur. Founded in 1459, by Rao Jodha, Jodhpur (formerly known as Marwar) is the second largest city of Rajasthan.

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The fort was named Mehrangarh, meaning ‘fort of the sun’ – a reference to the Rathore clan’s mythical descent from the sun god Surya. The fort has seven gates commemorating victories of various rulers over Jaipur, Bikaner and Mughals. The museum inside the fort houses exquisite royal collection. It’s also called the ‘Citadel of the Sun’.!!

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Heritage

Categories: Photography, Rajasthan, Untraveled Routes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 39 Comments

Roghi, a beautiful village near Kalpa

Wonders on the the Trans Himalayan voyage through Shimla – Kinnaur – Spiti Valley

It’s not the destination but the journey what makes life so interesting. A road trip to Spiti Valley is sort of like that only. The travel treasures that you get to witness to reach Spiti valley are fascinating. And one such place that we instantly fell in love with was ‘Kalpa’.

Kalpa, is an alluring village of Kinnaur. Situated at an altitude of 2758m, Kalpa offers unbelievable views of the majestic Kinner Kailash range. The sunrise and sunset are mind blowing here. When the clouds play hide and seek with the mountains during the day, it’s a sight to watch!!!


A captivating capture of Kinner Kailash Range during Sunrise at Kalpa, Kinnaur.

Reaching Kalpa was the most difficult part of our journey due to bad road conditions. We were enjoying the monster faces and scenic beauty until the bad patches began disturbing us. Once we crossed Sungra the patches transformed into a fully fledged pebbly road. It was a stretch of good 40 kms starting from Wangtu and continuing till Karcham. Once you reach Karcham, the roads are divided into two – the one going straight leads to Rekong Peo and the other one to Sangla. We purposely took the one going to Kalpa.

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A view of Kinner Kailash range adorned by Tibetan Flags

Get a little more cozy at Roghi

Situated  just 3 kms away from Kalpa, is this beautiful scenic village called Roghi. You would love to explore the treacherous road, the famous suicide point and serene views.

Roghi Village

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You don’t want to fall from here!! Suicide Point at Roghi Village

Happy Exploring!! with Untraveled Routes

Categories: Adventure, Kalpa, Kinnaur, Nature, Offbeat Travel, Photography, Road Trip, Tour Spiti, Travel, Untraveled Routes | Tags: , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Feeling ‘Dense’ in Rajasthan, India

The weekly photo challenge theme this week – ‘Dense’ is quite interesting. There could be so many interpretations and perspectives that can define ‘Dense’ from a photographer’s lens. I decided to focus on elements that elucidate a particular region, hence sharing beautiful pictures from one of the favorite destinations – ‘Rajasthan, India’.

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This is a capture from ‘Jodhpur’, the blue jewel in Rajasthan’s crown. The houses look as if sticking together tightly!!

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Being embraced by lot of Camels while on our way to Jaisalmer, the Golden City, a moment that I will never forget. Read more about the road trip to Jaisalmer here – The Desert Safari

Pristine morning at Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur with UR mark

Beautiful Taj Palace against the backdrop of luscious hills in Udaipur, the city of Lakes!!

Hope you enjoy the photos!!


Cheers 🙂

Categories: Photography, Travel Experience, Udaipur | Tags: , , | 31 Comments

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