Sunday, December 20, 2015

Informal Bar- Janpath

I was invited for a food bloggers meet with my wife to Informal in CP, on 19th December'15. As we entered, i couldn't resist taking pictures because of the beautiful aesthetics. The ceiling was lit up with colorful light bulbs and the old wooden work on the walls was quite attractive. They also have two barber chairs to surprise guests with Vodka shots.






They also have a very unique concept of lockers in which the guest can lock their half finished liquor and recollect on next visit. That earns them a brownie point!



 
The staff was really quick and very courteous. Even the managers are very nice and they ensured that no guest was unattended .Not every restaurant has a staff always smiling :) They have a live DJ performing with good foot tapping numbers. Informal's ground floor is big enough to accommodate around 70-80 people. The first floor is again spacious with terrace bar was well. The first floor space is good for 20-30 guests.



The food was not that great but "OK". The chicken bites in charcoal tasted good but I missed the smoky flavor. The mojito was average again. Bread basket with herbs butter was nice. We tried Dahi Kabab in starters which we thoroughly enjoyed. 








The place also offered live sufi music on weekly basis and I am sure that is very unique. I would love to go there next time to enjoy an evening with music and beer. Overall we are satisfied with the service and food considering the fact that Informal is new in the industry. I will give them 4/5. It is a must visit place for a Friday evening party.









Saturday, December 12, 2015

Vedic Collection Bloggers Meet

Unveils brand new website,  conducts bloggers meet

New  Delhi (December 12th, 2015) —Vedic Collection today announced the launch of a new, 
redesigned version of its website- https://vedic-collection.com . Key features of the site include a 
cleaner and more attractive design, a more engaging user experience with enhanced search and navigation. Vedic Collection specializes in Essential Oils and Aromatherapy based products for the 
mind, body and spirit under the categories Tatha and Samaya.A large number of bloggers, journalists 
and young digital enthusiasts were invited to the event, where Vedic Collection founder, Ms 
Founder Vedic Collection, Divita Kanoria
Divita Kanoria and the team disseminated valuable information to enhance the skills, knowledge and 
outreach of the participating audience. The speakers and participants held enlightening discussions about the site's refreshed and simplified look combined with optimization for mobile devices which allows consumers to better interact with Vedic Collection online. The consumers can choose the beauty products according to natural ingredients like Almonds, Rose, Lavender etc and customize their own beauty box according 
to their regime,diet, skin type etc.

The site intends to build an online community that changes the beauty-shopping pattern; an interactive community where consumers’opinions matter and where all beauty lovers are valued. So one can actually try out a product prior to buying itby choosing samples and getting them delivered.The users can also sign up for exclusive newsletters as well as the Vedic Collection’s special 
deals. The event witnessed some fun filled activities like ‘What’s your skin age’ wherein the bloggers filled up a form to determine their actual age of skin; ‘What’s your Rashi’?wherein the Bloggers were given an essential oil according to their sun sign. There were also enthralling round of discussions and a good grub session.The beauty , wellness, lifestyle bloggers and journalists  were delighted to get hands-on experience and personal guidance from the learned experts of Aromatherapy.

Tatha the brand
Speaking on the launch of the website, Divita Kanoria, Founder and Chief wellness Officer says “The elegant, consumer-centric design of the new Vedic collection website provides an innovative platform for our users that will boost the discoverability of our products and drive sales. There is 
an abundance of relevant and useful information on the site such as usage, tips, ideas and benefits of essential oils. This new website launch takes into account several of the most requested features including addition of tips and tricks, in-depth information on essential oils and aromatherapy, and enhanced search functionality, all of which give the reader a pleasurable viewing experience. We are pleased to see the young digital influencers who have participated in the Bloggers event and I courteously thank them for their enthusiastic participation .Vedic Collection looks forward to sharing and creating greater momentum with them.”

About Vedic Collection

The Vedic Collection is totally committed to provide pure, natural, safe and effective products, 
thereby, enhancing and enriching the lives of all those we touch. All our products are handmade 
under strict quality supervision and are paraben, sulphate and chemical free and are not tested on 
animals. We use, only recyclable glass bottles for storing our products to maintain its purity, as we 
are aware that plastic containers react with the essential ingredients used in aromatherapy and 
loses its potency.Our products are 100% pure, authentic, unique and safe. They do not contain any 
chemicals.

Face Care: Tatha Face care range suggest you the best natural products according to your skin Kind. 

Body Care: Tatha works towards re-establishing harmony and balance. Tatha body care products 
help in Detoxification, facilitate healthy living, maintain youthfulness and vitality. 

Hair Care: Nourishes the scalp, Keeps Hair Strong, Keeps them shining, Keeps hair thick, Enhances circulation.

Mens Care: Tatha range for men is focused towards the much herald metro sexual generation

.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Manali Trip- Day 2

Next morning I woke up little early to catch some early morning images. I managed to capture some beautiful images of the nature around. The first light on mountains and trees felt like inner bliss. Had to climb an unstable stair to capture good images.

Our taxi was right on time to pick us. It was a neat cab and not to forget the friendly driver. We started sharp at 8:30 am to avoid traffic later. The road towards Rohtang was narrow and controlled by the Indian Army. I also realized as we ascended the hills, the oxygen level also depleted. After a ride of more than 2 hours we reached our destination. It was almost deserted! This was because of the adventure activity ban and also because we reached early. I had to face a huge disappointment as there was no snow. The only white land we could spot was very high.

We trekked up the vertical hills, stumbling on the rocky path and struggling with low oxygen. I tried to push my limits but it had become impossible. I was on a verge of collapsing! I am not fat but not fit either for this kind of situation. I did manage to climb a good height but not enough to touch the snow.  I then decided to descend as it was going beyond my stamina.



 The good part was the beautiful mountain, playful clouds and scenic beauty! I captured few good images there.

We drove to Solang Valley from Rohtang. We stopped for lunch at Marhi village, the last village before Rohtang. A small Buddhist temple decorated with colorful flags opposite to the eating spot attracted us and we entered the premises. Along the road was a herd mountain sheep with their owners.  There was also a small stack of stones which seemed like an offering to the GOD’s of the valley. Every click was beautiful. Lest I should have missed those moments. We also experienced clouds blocking our road and that was the 1st time I experienced something like that. It was magical to see clouds such close! I could not take many pictures because moisture from clouds would damage my cam lenses.

We arrived in Solang Valley after 45 minutes.  As expected, there wasn’t much rush because of the ban on snow activities. The only attraction left there is the rope way trolley to ferry you to a hill top. The 10 minute ride was costly-  Rs.500 each. It was my 1st experience in a ropeway so didn’t want to miss that.  

The ride was great and soon we reached the top. We spent some time with a cup of tea amid the raw nature. Initially we thought the only way to reach there was the rope way but soon we discovered horse foot marks and dung. So there was a different way in.

We spent almost an hour and then again turned back to the ropeway down.  I click some more pics and we returned to our hotel.


 We also got a chance to Visit Manu Temple. This is only temple of Manu Rishi, legend says that he is the creator of human race in India.
 From the very beginning of this trip I was trying to locate a small forest (as seen on google map) with some birds but unable to locate it as the locals said that there was no forest. The only one is situated on the highway which is far. But something I saw all the time on our way to hotel was a small building with visitors all the time. Since our bus was scheduled for departure at 4:30pm, we had ample time post1pm.  So we thought to spent rest of our time on Mall Road. Again while crossing the same building I thought to have a look and “bingo” it was actually a small forest. A dream came true as I was entered the forest cum bird zoo. A peaceful and mesmerizing place it was! The forest was not big but still very beautiful and full of trees. We enjoyed our walk in the forest. As we entered little deep inside we spotted some cages with Himalyan birds. They are Himalayan Monal with peacock like neck and duck shaped body. The exuberant colors of the Monal were beautiful.
 


That was the end to our Manali trip. I hope to help some backpackers with this blog.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Manali Trip-Day 1

If you plan for a short trip to escape the city hustle, then make it to a hill station away from traffic pollution and noise. Keeping this philosophy in mind my wife and I planned for a trip to Manali in September 2015.

The first step is to book an economical hotel as most of the time we venture out and the only time spent in a hotel room is at night while sleeping or getting ready in morning. So spending on a luxury room makes no sense. A colleague at my wife’s office suggested a budget hotel “Rohtang Mansuli” located near to circuit house. In the first glance at the pictures online I fell in love with the surroundings of the hotel with a big garden with beautiful flowers. The hotel is partially covered with plants which gives a very nice tree house look. We booked our hotel tickets from Chandralok building. A piece of advice- to book tickets of Govt operated Volvos as they are punctual and trusted. Also they don’t have odd pick up points. We headed to Himachal Tourism Bhawan (Mandi House, Delhi) for Volvo tickets. Yes I know we can book online but we wanted to keep it safe because last minute surprises are always bad.


We had planned for a 3 day trip as 1 full day is good enough for Rohtang Pass and Solang Valley until you indulgence in adventure sports. Post a 13 hour tiring Volvo ride, we made it to Manali bus stand by 11am.  The walk towards our hotel which was not even 2 km was an endurance task because the roads are inclined upwards. With each step we lost our energy and oxygen considering the heavy travel bags on our back.

Rohtang Manalsu’s rooms were decent with basic facilities and a non-working television in one corner. Post a quick lunch and nap, we were back in shape and ready for our first sightseeing. Half day was already gone so we toured Hidimba Devi temple and Mall road, as they were within a radius of 2 Km from our hotel.

The way towards Hidimba Devi Temple is full of Deodar trees. Picturesque and serene, the walk was mesmerizing with sunshine playing in the cover of leaves and clouds posing for the shutterbugs. The temple premises is located amid huge trees and greenery. At a first look it seemed more of an old Japanese house. The outer walls was decorated with skulls of wild animals mostly deer and mountain sheep. The best part was due to its location most tourists avoid visiting the temple or miss it assuming it to be a usual Hindu temple. But the surrounding is marvelous. As we entered the small temple, the lovely fragrance of scented sticks greeted our senses. The temple is peaceful and quiet.
The small forest surrounding the temple is also something what I couldn’t miss. The forest premises was absolutely peaceful inside the lush green forest. The sound of water from nearby river just added to the beauty of the place.
 


Ladies with mountain rabbits thronged the place lending the animals for pictures at rupees twenty to pose for pictures; don’t understand how they are doing it because it is not permitted under the wildlife protection act. We also encountered a foreigner sitting with a snake and renting it for picture. Imagine a lady like her giving us tips for good luck who looked like she lost all of her money in drugs! People will also try to sell local sex boosters like shilajit and herbs for hair growth. Ttrust me they will also give you 100% guarantee for the result.




We reached Mall road after 20 minute walk from Hidimba Devi Temple. Mall road is small and full of local shops mostly selling foods and souvenirs. One can also pick local clothes like the famous Himachali cap.



 
We heard about the worth visiting Tibetan Monastery on Mall Road. My excitement knew no bounds since it was my first experience. The place is very beautiful and calm. The main entrance of the temple was “guarded” with very friendly dogs. My wife was like n heaven as those dogs were super cute and cuddly. I also experienced turning the prayer wheel chanting the mantra which my wife taught me. She even clicked a selfie with one of the dogs.
 

 

 


On our way back we went to the office of Himachal taxi union to book a taxi to Rohtang pass and Solang valley. We found a very honest driver and he broke a shocking piece of news to us. All activities in Rohtang and Solang were terminated by the National Green Tribunal court and the only activity left was the ropeway in Solang Valley. He agreed to ferry us to both the places in Rs.1500. Due to the restrictions, tourism has dropped in Manali and hence the huge discount on fares. He even told us about AAP campaign by the name of “Himachal Bachao” to help the local taxi drivers. We planned the itenary for the next day and agreed to leave from hotel at 8:30 am next morning.

I felt something different when I returned to the hotel room. There was complete silence. We city residents are not used to such silence so it was little strange for me. But honestly it was very relaxing.
Next morning I woke up little early to catch some early morning images. I managed to capture some beautiful images of hills, trees and also the hotel garden. The first light of the Sun on mountains and trees felt like inner bliss.

Day two of the trip coming soon...

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

FatehpurSikri and Taj Mahal

So finally I planned to visit the seventh 7th wonder of the world “The Taj Mahal”. The total distance of Agra from my home in Gurgaon is approx. 270 KM which included my travel to Noida and a stretch of 180 KM on Yamuna expressway.
 
We started early at 5:30 am. The drive was smooth and we made a small halt at a roadside restaurant.  Few things what one needs to make sure while driving on the Yamuna expressway is to fill your vehicle tank and tyre pressure. Do check the backup tyre as well.
 
We reached Agra around 9:30 am and checked into a decent restaurant which had awesome reviews on tripadvisor.in However, what we got was much below our expectation as our experience was not that great. The AC in our room did not work which we realized after we had already unpacked our luggage. Ok they did change the room and transfer us to a much better room but because of all this we lost more than an hour. Our plan was to visit Fatehpur Sikri on the 1st day. Post relaxing for an hour we started our journey to the historical place. The road was really bad.  We were also stopped by the local police for a routine check where the cop wanted us to drop his junior somewhere. Our privacy mattered to us and hence we refused. The nightmare started as soon as we crossed Agra. It seems UP government has no clue what is a road all about. We also got stuck at a railway crossing for more than one hour!
 
At last we reached the historical building of Fatehpur Sikri. Well, mismanagement seemed so prevalent when some local goons tried to extract money in the name of MCD tax!!! Avoid them and confidently shoo them away. After paying a huge parking charge we somehow reached the bus stand from where we had to board a bus ferrying to the main historical site. Beware of the shopkeepers who can bug you to visit their shop and even thrust their visiting cards to you. Do not talk to them, lest they should make you buy from their shops, at any cost!I assumed it to be a free ride, but the Ministry of UP tourism charged us Rs.10 each. Seems a small amount but I think they shouldn’t charge. No wonders why people call it Ulta Pradesh.

 
As soon as we reached Fatehpur Sikri, we asked ourselves if it was worth going as it was the same Mughal architecture we had seen in Delhi and Jaipur. There was nothing new, yet we have to spend some time there to justify our efforts of reaching there. There was nothing special about that place. So we spent nearly an hour and returned to our hotel by evening.

 


Next morning we went to Taj Mahal and we lost our way because of absence of sign boards. The monument is a white legend and its beauty is mesmerizing. I can imagine how much hard work went into the construction of such a perfect monument in that era where everything had to be done manually. Taj is a perfect example of Mughal architecture without a single flaw; everything is so perfect that it will be hard to envision architects and designers using their imaginative power and basic geometrical tools. Colorful stones used were imported from far off places like Iran and Russia in the making of the Taj. We had visited in the morning so I managed to get some good camera shots. In the latter half of the day the place looks like a war zone with thousands of visitors pouring in and making the place densely crowded with no proper management.

The visit to the Mumtaz “Makbara” inside was like walking in hell. It’s not lit inside, and the place is overcrowded beyond capacity. To make things worse, a single point served as the entry and exit as well.  We somehow managed to drag our way out. The TAJ is a must visit place to admire the beauty of LOVE but poor management, over crowded place,  and eve teasing with foreigners make the experience bad. 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Delhi NCR and Traffic


Ok so we all have to deal with traffic day and night. No matter what time you are our the “Traffic Ghost” could meet you anywhere, some people do argue that there are some times when there is 100% no traffic yes may be they are right but I don’t think so. I used to work in Nodia and travel to 64 KM every day from my home in Gurgaon and no matter what time I travel back there was traffic everywhere.

So the question is why the traffic is increasing day by day. Let’s look into some of the myths;
1.       Some people think it is more because of commercial Vehicle- Wrong
2.       Blame it on Government for less wider roads-Wrong
3.       Faulty traffic light and unplanned system- Yes due to some extent
4.       Mismatch route directions- In Gurgaon yes but not in total.

So then why we have more traffic the answer is our “Own Vehicle”. Yes you herd it right; we are buying cars and bikes at a very rapid speed and thanks to our banks that allows us to take a loan upto 7 years WOW that’s amazing. People don’t realize how much they are paying as it is a small amount as compared to the BIG cost of the car they have to pay every month. More than 5 Lakhs cars are added to Delhi roads every year and I can only imagine the huge figure of Delhi NCR.
What on earth any government will do to provide roads for all these Vehicles. So we as a middle class will buy car because now it’s more of a necessity rather than a luxury, could we as a citizen can do something to bring down the traffic? Some possibilities are.

Car Pulling-We can use social networking sites and Whatsapp and FB to connect with people who travel to the same location every day.
Public Transport-To use more and more public transport like metro and bus.
Hitchhiking-To drop colleagues to metro and bus stops.

Government should be more aggressive towards providing public transport and must plan for more metro routes.



NAMO Era- A Myth

“Acchay Din Aanay Walay Hai” well that was the election tag line of BJP and it works WOW clean swipe. So how long we have to wait for “acchay din” well may take little as 30-40 years.
But what actually a country India shall push for, the answer is still the same “basic infrastructure”. The country is still struggling with power, fresh water and roads with no hardcore plans these factors are still a distant dreams. Modi government is talking about bullet trains well I think Mr. Prime Minister should go to the IRCTC site and try to book a ticket for himself yes with a different name. Indian railway is the biggest railway in the whole world with bad facilities like food, toilets, reservation, timings etc. How come someone can think of a very expensive bullet train when the whole system needs an upgrade? Apart from this, metro cities suffer from huge power cuts mostly in summer season when the mercury crosses 45 degrees very often. We need to change from coal power to nuclear power which is more environments friendly and also with better capacity.
The problem is because of corruption and over population. The country really needs an education upgrade where more emphasis should be given to practical knowledge rather than degrees. First step has to curb the uncontrolled population because no matter how much effort we put, it will be of no use in front of this growing cancer. What our travel freak PM is doing, is more “FREE” support to that class of society who thinks “more hand more money”. Government hospitals have free delivery centers for the section of society who has no money to eat and ultimately we will have more beggars on streets. Instead of giving free medical facilities why not the government make strict laws for education so that they can understand family planning.

Having said, that I will not say that the new government is not working. Many good things like the Rs.2,00,000 life insurance scheme for just Rs.12 an year ,more FDI in military procurement  and good relations with hostile countries (With China it’s only one sided and also some very hard lessons to Pakistan over cross border terrorism.)


Image result for arvind kejriwal
Arvind Kejriwal
In conclusion the only person I see who understands India is Arvind Kejriwal who for the 1st time has put more emphasis on education and investing more on people. The question remains will he ever be the PM of India? May be yes if we middle class supports him.





Friday, May 1, 2015

Red Corridor-Weapons we Need to Fight Back


­As we all know that from the past 50 years, DRDO has only been able to do some modifications to imported weapons or developed a bulky and outdated battle tank like Arjun. We know upfront that this is not working out and Modi’s lashes to the agency will certainly need some more time for “Acchay weapons aanay walay hai.” To fill the gap, the government has increased the budget for importing weapons and technology from abroad.

The question still remains the same. Do we have that kind of fire power to deal with threats like “Naxals” or China? The answer is No and in some areas Yes.
India is the second most densely populated country with more internal threats then outside. Without advanced firepower we would not be able to cure the cancer within.

Red Corridor- A legacy started in West Bengal in late 60’s and spread like a jungle fire. The only difference between now and then is more outside help. The Naxals are now well trained and well-armed with the help of their communist friends and numbers are disturbingly increasing day by day.
So why like a powerful country like India has not been able to control it,is mostly because lack of advanced weaponry. The areas are mostly covered with thick forest which are hard to patrol day and night without proper equipment's like thermal imagining and night vision goggles. In terms of massive firepower, our forces definitely need something like an Apache Longbow Attack Chopper.
Apache is a state of the art attack chopper fitted with guided hellfire missiles, rocket and 30 mm cannon. Drones which can monitor forests day and night,can provide better Intel and if required drones fitted with less devastating missiles could hit a high value target. The standard INSAS rifle issued to our armed forces is something like fighting a cannon with an arrow! With a range of only 400 meters and no automatic fire it is a completely low category weapon.












We need something like a FAMAS or TAVOR which is now only issued to the Special Forces and some other wings. These weapons are accurate, deadly and possess massive firing power. Also they are designed for Close-Quarter-battles as well as range of 800 meters.








Good light body armor will definitely add value to the soldiers on foot. The present ones are not capable of stopping a high velocity AK47 round.
No matter how motivated and patriotic our soldiers are, without these kind of gears they are helpless.