Heritage Resort Hampi

Heritage Resort – Hampi A Resort not to be missed!

One comes to Hampi as a serious traveller. A traveller who would appreciate the magnificent temples, to soak into the magnitude and splendour of it’s history. And to complement this setting, one needs to choose an equal substitute to rest your head on.

After a long and tiring day of Hampi sightseeing, what one wants is a peaceful relaxing place to put your feet up. We found the perfect place in Heritage Resort Hampi, about 7 Kms away from the main attractions in a village called Hosa Malapanagudi. Tucked between cool mango and coconut trees, and outside the hustle and bustle of the tourists.

#Heritage Resort Hampi, is a part of India Asia hotels with other hotels in Coorg. Although only five years old, it looked pretty established and grounded in it’s environment and principles.

The ethos of the Resort is to be an organic, eco friendly and a sustainable place and for the guests to live in it. To employ locals who take pride in the place and to use organic produce of the farm is what makes this place unique.

Blending seamlessly with the traditions and modernity, the reception area welcomes you, and you know you are in the right place! A soothing water feature, and a traditional rangoli artwork is an example.

Modern luxury essentials in your room with a relaxing poolside surrounded by mango laden trees make a perfect setting for a cocktail or two. Do not miss the Happy hour if you are in early!

I was very kindly given a tour of the organic farm by Mr Manu, the Operations Manager who explained and showed me around the organic and eco friendly system from soil to produce preservation. Farm to table on show! Inherited mango and coconut trees and other fruit and vegetables grown in abundance, all curated with love and pride. This was quite evident in the dishes we tasted in the kitchen too.

Talking of the kitchen, I could not resist and had to ask for a visit and see how the organic produce is converted into delicious delicacies. I was lucky to have Mr Ramesh, their corporate Chef who took me around and along with him and Chef Vikas demonstrated two amazing local dishes using their organic produce. I will have to dedicate another blog on this culinary experience, so watch the space!

Overall, this is  a relaxing resort which offers a corporate yet friendly atmosphere, an organic culinary experience, an Ayurvedic spa. You need to just book it! Don’t forget to add some extra days though.

  • Experience Hampi, experience Heritage Resort Hampi.

http://www.heritageresorthampi.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slice of the Silk route

Mountains and Cities of the Silk Road  – 

 

Krygyztan, an unassuming country where its’ mountains reach the skies, its’ nomads grounded to their traditions and where its’ horses, the sheep and the cattle roam freely in the valleys cuddled between the skies and the mountains. It has a spirit of a free nomad, a heart full of pride, yet very humble.

Our trip to this country was a revelation of how enormous an expanse could be and how tiny is our existence in relation!

In spite of its’ tremulous past of invaders and dictators, the people are peaceful, enterprising and their quest to keep their cultures and traditions alive very apparent.

Yurt living –

How is life here? How long do you spend living in the yurts? Why do you do this?” I ask the family matriarch in her yurt kitchen which I was fortunate enough to enter. – “We spend four months here on the summer pasture land every year. I like it because it’s peaceful,” she says. “When it gets too cold, we’ll go back to the town.” The teenage daughters were there to help the mother and were soon leaving to resume their university education. Traditions not stopping them to move forward in life.

On 3000m, sits the Son-Kul lake and on the shore are atleast ten yurts made available for the adventurous travellers eager to experience a drop of the nomadic life. It is only possible due to an enterprising venture called ‘CBT – Community Based Tourism’. We experience the Kryg hospitality, their breakfast of fresh fruit, bread and porridge, and homemade soups and salads. The night approaches and we tuck in our pre-warmed yurt waiting for the electricity to be turned off. Generators are life -saving over here so is water. Mornings are cold, yet crisp and sunny and coming out of the yurt, brushing your teeth in the open, the wild horses already grazing freely, backdrop of the beautiful lake, the experience is just so surreal, dreamlike! The modern world is really missing on this!!

After a two night stay, we were back on to the winding roads, bumpy and rough did not dampen our spirits and we just could not stop staring at the beautiful breathtaking peaks, a palette of warm colours and shadows emerging from the sun and the clouds. The famous 33 parrot winding road was the finale and a super shot which is now permanently imposed in our memories. These peaks and mountains were a complete backdrop or a foreground.

 

 

Slice of Silk Road – Tash Rabat

Driving along, you see the grass plains stretch out with the only movement herds of grazing horses grazing.  Towns are far between and sometimes they’re so small that you only notice a few houses or yurts and you think how many people have passed through this region over centuries.

A moving market was created for centuries connecting lands from the east, China through middle east, India and finally to Europe. Krygyszstan providing the super highway of this international trade. Not the Russian ladas or Toyotas , but camels and caravans of goods travelled in all directions, carrying wares to be traded.

And to support these traders, caravanserais sprung up on these highways, to meet the needs of the traders’ rest, food and security. Let’s say ‘Travelodge caravanserai’! So many have disappeared and some in ruins. However this caravanserai at Tash Rabat fitted our imagination. During the peak of the Silk Road era, it’s easy to imagine people gathering here to eat, drink and trade.

Camping near this mysterious site for two nights was such a bonus. Having got used to our previous stay in the Yurt at the lake, we familiarised ourselves pretty quickly. Again the young host family provided us with excellent fresh meals and a warm yurt to tuck in at night. We were getting used to the crisp sunny mornings and cold nights, when the last morning we all woke up with a carpet of unexpected snow on the grounds. This gave us an insight of how cold and uncomfortable it could be during the winter time!. This was the last group for our host family, and they were ready to go down to the valley into their comforts.

As we left the high altitudes, the silent and ghostly caravanserai behind, we kind of started missing the whole experience already! The serene beauty almost superseded the drop down toilets and the cold nights!

The downward journey through the winding route, the valleys, a few peaks up and then down took us to a comparatively modern town in the Naryn province. A homestay lunch completed our mountain experience.

Osh and crossing the border to Uzbekistan

Our week in Krygyztan was coming to an end. Our last stop in Osh, a busy town with majority of Uzbek population gave us our first taste of Uzbek hospitality. Our home stay lunch at an Uzbek family was very delicious. The family home had distinct Uzbeck architecture which was a stark contrast to simple Yurt setups.

Our crossing over to Uzbekistan by land was smooth but interesting, despite our group leader’s warning on delays

Our lovely host  – Mohhabat (means ‘Love’) head of the family – see above picture of Mohabbat and me!

Here we come Uzbekistan!!

Three main sites of historical interests in this country are Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand.

Khiva , our first stop after a short flight from Tashkent to Khiva. It was walled Fort town, very rustic and organic. The surviving mud walls of the Fort gave the town a nostalgic feel. We walked through the narrow lanes lined with shops, cafes and through the old town,. Not as touristy and spoilt due to its somewhat inconvenient route, Khiva proved to be the most favourite stop in our group.

After admiring the beautiful tile work and mosaic turquoise dome that dominates Khiva’s skyline, we headed to the Juma Mosque which is unlike anywhere else we visited in Uzbekistan. The main chamber is divided by a muddle of 218 columns, some dating back to the 10th century. It hosts one of the oldest Fire Temple from the Zoroastrian era which was fascinating.

 

 

Bukhara – Our drive from Khiva to Bukhara was a long drive passing through the Kizikum desert, and a picnic style lunch on the way. Reaching Bukhara in the evening and resting straight into a hotel was the only best thing we could do. The next day was the day to see the town in its glory, starting with the Lyabi Hauz complex with a manmade pond and where the locals and the tourists join in to soak in the sun and culture.

Bukhara is an ancient city and was a prominent stop on the Silk Road trade route between the East and the West, and a major medieval centre for Islamic theology and culture. It still contains hundreds of well-preserved mosques, madrassas, bazaars and caravanserais, dating largely from the 9th to the 17th centuries.  The Ulugbek observatory is a surviving contribution from Temurid.

The people in Uzbekistan seemed to be more relaxed in their adherence to the Islamic traditions and the friendliness and the openness was quite apparent. We had groups of local women coming to us to be photographed with them and were warmly welcomed everywhere.

Local ladies enjoying their dance and music in the centre of the town market – I did join in later!

Samarkand – our final Silk route stop and a much awaited and an anticipated one. Having heard so much of its history and its beauty, we could not wait to arrive. Our evening arrival had a perfect timing as we were driven straight to the famous majestic ‘Registan’ –  a plaza bordered by 3 ornate, majolica-covered madrassas dating to the 15th and 17th centuries, and Gur-e-Amir, the towering tomb of Timur (Tamerlane), founder of the Timurid Empire. Timurid is hailed as a hero in Samarkand and the home to resting places of most of his family and for himself. The Bibi- Khanaym tomb and the Shahi-Zinda mosque and the tomb with their intricate green and turquoise mosaics clearly demonstrated the grandeur and talent which existed during those centuries.

Uzbekistan’s silk road cities were at the cross roads of culture and arts like silk carpet weaving, wood carving, gold jewellery and paintings thrived then and continue to do so.  It is a paradise for art loving shoppers!

Registan – the ultimate!!

 

Overall, our Uzbekistan trip was as interesting, although differing from Krygyztan. Each country offered us unique experiences, from nomads to merchants, these cultures and civilizations although intertwined, yet differed intensely, each one intent to keep their identity alive!

I would totally recommend this trip, specially via Wild Frontiers, as our lovely organised tour leader Anna made it all easy and left us to enjoy our adventure

Sept 2018 – Mountains and cities of Silk Route

 

Anna and us… struck a friendship!!!

Mountains and Cities of the Silk Road  – 

 

Krygyztan, an unassuming country where its’ mountains reach the skies, its’ nomads grounded to their traditions and where its’ horses, the sheep and the cattle roam freely in the valleys cuddled between the skies and the mountains. It has a spirit of a free nomad, a heart full of pride, yet very humble.

Our trip to this country was a revelation of how enormous an expanse could be and how tiny is our existence in relation!

In spite of its’ tremulous past of invaders and dictators, the people are peaceful, enterprising and their quest to keep their cultures and traditions alive very apparent.

Yurt living –

How is life here? How long do you spend living in the yurts? Why do you do this?” I ask the family matriarch in her yurt kitchen which I was fortunate enough to enter. – “We spend four months here on the summer pasture land every year. I like it because it’s peaceful,” she says. “When it gets too cold, we’ll go back to the town.” The teenage daughters were there to help the mother and were soon leaving to resume their university education. Traditions not stopping them to move forward in life.

On 3000m, sits the Son-Kul lake and on the shore are atleast ten yurts made available for the adventurous travellers eager to experience a drop of the nomadic life. It is only possible due to an enterprising venture called ‘CBT – Community Based Tourism’. We experience the Kryg hospitality, their breakfast of fresh fruit, bread and porridge, and homemade soups and salads. The night approaches and we tuck in our pre-warmed yurt waiting for the electricity to be turned off. Generators are life -saving over here so is water. Mornings are cold, yet crisp and sunny and coming out of the yurt, brushing your teeth in the open, the wild horses already grazing freely, backdrop of the beautiful lake, the experience is just so surreal, dreamlike! The modern world is really missing on this!!

After a two night stay, we were back on to the winding roads, bumpy and rough did not dampen our spirits and we just could not stop staring at the beautiful breathtaking peaks, a palette of warm colours and shadows emerging from the sun and the clouds. The famous 33 parrot winding road was the finale and a super shot which is now permanently imposed in our memories. These peaks and mountains were a complete backdrop or a foreground.

 

 

Slice of Silk Road – Tash Rabat

Driving along, you see the grass plains stretch out with the only movement herds of grazing horses grazing.  Towns are far between and sometimes they’re so small that you only notice a few houses or yurts and you think how many people have passed through this region over centuries.

A moving market was created for centuries connecting lands from the east, China through middle east, India and finally to Europe. Krygyszstan providing the super highway of this international trade. Not the Russian ladas or Toyotas , but camels and caravans of goods travelled in all directions, carrying wares to be traded.

And to support these traders, caravanserais sprung up on these highways, to meet the needs of the traders’ rest, food and security. Let’s say ‘Travelodge caravanserai’! So many have disappeared and some in ruins. However this caravanserai at Tash Rabat fitted our imagination. During the peak of the Silk Road era, it’s easy to imagine people gathering here to eat, drink and trade.

Camping near this mysterious site for two nights was such a bonus. Having got used to our previous stay in the Yurt at the lake, we familiarised ourselves pretty quickly. Again the young host family provided us with excellent fresh meals and a warm yurt to tuck in at night. We were getting used to the crisp sunny mornings and cold nights, when the last morning we all woke up with a carpet of unexpected snow on the grounds. This gave us an insight of how cold and uncomfortable it could be during the winter time!. This was the last group for our host family, and they were ready to go down to the valley into their comforts.

As we left the high altitudes, the silent and ghostly caravanserai behind, we kind of started missing the whole experience already! The serene beauty almost superseded the drop down toilets and the cold nights!

The downward journey through the winding route, the valleys, a few peaks up and then down took us to a comparatively modern town in the Naryn province. A homestay lunch completed our mountain experience.

Osh and crossing the border to Uzbekistan

Our week in Krygyztan was coming to an end. Our last stop in Osh, a busy town with majority of Uzbek population gave us our first taste of Uzbek hospitality. Our home stay lunch at an Uzbek family was very delicious. The family home had distinct Uzbeck architecture which was a stark contrast to simple Yurt setups.

Our crossing over to Uzbekistan by land was smooth but interesting, despite our group leader’s warning on delays

Our lovely host  – Mohhabat (means ‘Love’) head of the family

 

Here we come Uzbekistan!!

Three main sites of historical interests in this country are Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand.

Khiva , our first stop after a short flight from Tashkent to Khiva. It was walled Fort town, very rustic and organic. The surviving mud walls of the Fort gave the town a nostalgic feel. We walked through the narrow lanes lined with shops, cafes and through the old town,. Not as touristy and spoilt due to its somewhat inconvenient route, Khiva proved to be the most favourite stop in our group.

After admiring the beautiful tile work and mosaic turquoise dome that dominates Khiva’s skyline, we headed to the Juma Mosque which is unlike anywhere else we visited in Uzbekistan. The main chamber is divided by a muddle of 218 columns, some dating back to the 10th century. It hosts one of the oldest Fire Temple from the Zoroastrian era which was fascinating.

 

Bukhara – Our drive from Khiva to Bukhara was a long drive passing through the Kizikum desert, and a picnic style lunch on the way. Reaching Bukhara in the evening and resting straight into a hotel was the only best thing we could do. The next day was the day to see the town in its glory, starting with the Lyabi Hauz complex with a manmade pond and where the locals and the tourists join in to soak in the sun and culture.

Bukhara is an ancient city and was a prominent stop on the Silk Road trade route between the East and the West, and a major medieval centre for Islamic theology and culture. It still contains hundreds of well-preserved mosques, madrassas, bazaars and caravanserais, dating largely from the 9th to the 17th centuries.  The Ulugbek observatory is a surviving contribution from Temurid.

The people in Uzbekistan seemed to be more relaxed in their adherence to the Islamic traditions and the friendliness and the openness was quite apparent. We had groups of local women coming to us to be photographed with them and were warmly welcomed everywhere.

Local ladies enjoying their dance and music in the centre of the town market – I did join in later!

Samarkand – our final Silk route stop and a much awaited and an anticipated one. Having heard so much of its history and its beauty, we could not wait to arrive. Our evening arrival had a perfect timing as we were driven straight to the famous majestic ‘Registan’ –  a plaza bordered by 3 ornate, majolica-covered madrassas dating to the 15th and 17th centuries, and Gur-e-Amir, the towering tomb of Timur (Tamerlane), founder of the Timurid Empire. Timurid is hailed as a hero in Samarkand and the home to resting places of most of his family and for himself. The Bibi- Khanaym tomb and the Shahi-Zinda mosque and the tomb with their intricate green and turquoise mosaics clearly demonstrated the grandeur and talent which existed during those centuries.

Uzbekistan’s silk road cities were at the cross roads of culture and arts like silk carpet weaving, wood carving, gold jewellery and paintings thrived then and continue to do so.  It is a paradise for art loving shoppers!

Registan – the ultimate!!

 

Overall, our Uzbekistan trip was as interesting, although differing from Krygyztan. Each country offered us unique experiences, from nomads to merchants, these cultures and civilizations although intertwined, yet differed intensely, each one intent to keep their identity alive!

I would totally recommend this trip, specially via Wild Frontiers, as our lovely organised tour leader Anna made it all easy and left us to enjoy our adventure

Sept 2018 – Mountains and cities of Silk Route = Kashmira and Bharat

 

Anna and us… struck a friendship!!!

KASHMIRA - WIN_20180914_052542

Holi in Mathura

A long awaited, belated post. March 2017 was the time, and it was my time to go to India, escaping the not so warm climates..it was a joyous occasion taking the family back home and most importantly celebrating the Indian wedding ceremony of our daughter.

After the celebrations, our destination was  Rishikesh –  a spiritual abode with the calm and clean waters of the holy Ganges. A few days of soaking in the sun, yoga and evening riverside evening aarti prayers made me rejuvenate with all things spiritual – a special blog on this is awaiting!

What lied ahead was an experience I would live with my entire life! The birth place of the celebration of the most culturally popular festival in India -Holi was our next destination. Mathura, is associated with Lord Krishna and temples, but now an overcrowded mixture of man made spirituality and urbanization. Mathura is a mixture of gaudy, superficial so called temples with age old original temples tucked in little alleyways. Was it pure devotion or just blind faith? I had to wait and see.

After getting to know the programme for the day,  our next task was the logistics. Our driver advised us that he leave us till the main road and we take the rickshaw to the main temple where the festivities would start in the afternoon. We had no choice and he was right indeed. The main road was already full of people walking to what we thought was our destination too.

After a few reluctant rickshaw drivers, we decided to walk in the heat, and we were delighted to find a huge mob following a van with blaring microphones chanting the Holi devotional songs, along with some bollywood tunes! This mob was no ordinary mob – they were devotees full of fervour, and armed with the Holi colours. We were just enjoying the atmosphere in the sidelines, and suddenly got sucked in the mob by some lovely ladies , and in no time we were in with them playing the Holi game! I was experiencing a true authentic street festival, and thought to myself – ‘ this is it’

Reaching the temple on time, and  gaining a front seat to the entrance and we thought we have hit the jackpot! A longish waiting game was compensated by a visual delight of   the devotees singing away passionately. For my photographer husband, it was ‘the moment’!. Little did we realise, that behind us was a 1000 more strong contingent trying to get to where we were. Panic had begin to set in, but it didn’t materialise till when the doors suddenly were thrown open –  me , my husband and the bystanders were just thrown like a gush of water out of a broken pipe. We were out of control, being pushed, pulled  and squeezed in by this uncontrollable crowd who had one aim in mind – to reach the central courtyard. Separated from my husband, disorientated, dizzy with the noise and human mass , my ”this is it” moment had soon vanished in the smokey air which surrounded the main quarter.

In a few minutes, sudden calm prevailed, chants continued although much mellower, a cloud of flowers and holi colours over me, and the storm was over, as if nothing had happened.

My earlier question  of  ‘pure devotion or just blind faith’ still remains unanswered. Maybe another visit awaits……

A week with the rural ladies!

 

A few years ago, I had an opportunity to travel in the north of Gujarat,  with my husband who photographs rural countryside and its people. My sisters joined in, leaving my husband and the driver with no choice but to stay quiet and listen to our blabber while travelling in a four by four.

When we were not chatting, we were either eating and sharing our snacks, singing away, testing the patience of the men in the front seats! The only peace they may have had was when all or one of us were nodding off. Anyway, the route was a busy motorway with blaring horns from the trucks, leaving the madness after a stop to have some steamy hot tea and freshly made pakoras!. A much quieter but a bumpy ride started off our trail to the villages we were visiting.

The women and young girls from these villages were part of a scheme where they were being trained and mentored by volunteers but most importantly by the elderly women of the community. The scheme was to revive the embroidery skills which are lost or forgotten over the years. Women were forced to worked in the farms, as men went to towns to supplement their incomes, thus leaving their skills fading away.

As we entered the first village, and we parked ourselves at the village’s only entrance, lined with cowsheds and a well, and seeing a group of women and young girls standing there just made us feel so humble!

So the pictures shown above are what we saw, experienced and shared! A visit to the ‘cumin’ farm with the girls , and ofcourse our photoshoot. A never to forget demonstration of the making of the staple bread made from millet flour – ‘rotla’ by the elderly lady, and followed by the most delicious farmhouse menu we ever had. Sitting on the floor, with the rural ladies, we never felt as close to nature and humanity!

We left them in awe of their strength and their resilience, and their beaming faces.

Not looking forward to the moanings of the urban ladies at the slightest inconvenience!

Which one would you want to be??

 

 

 

 

 

Tools of the trade

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 Tools of the trade

I would not call my cooking  a trade, but I do need tools and resources to make a happy home cooked Indian meal  -and that is  a 'Masala dabba'  as it is called, translated as a Spice box.

It isn't just a normal spice box, it is a box which has travelled across continents, gone through the ups and down of my cooking transitions - from a novice, to a phase when family meals were popular, to an experimental one and now an enjoyable phase of meditative cooking!

This Masala box is my emotional 'dowry' - given by my mum to me when I got married - an indirect message given to me  that this box could help win my husband's heart!!

Full of colourful and aromatic spices, it reminded me of my mum's kitchen and inspring me to cook the dishes she lovingly cooked for the family.

I gave one to my daughter when she got married.. would be interesting to know how she relates to her Masala box!

Contents of the Masala box: a must have for all Indian cooking:

Cumin Seeds - (Jeera)

Mustard Seeds (Rai)

Turmeric poweder (Haldi)

Chilli Poweder (Mirchi)

Cumin and Corriander Powder (Cumin and corriander powder)

Garam Masala

Markets, markets here I come…

I love markets. Whenever I travel, whichever country I am in, first thing I look for is their local market

I have my memories of going to our local market in suburban mumbai (then Bombay). One of my friends from our apartment block used to go the local market daily to buy fresh vegetables for the next day. She went because because her mum was elderly and it was her responsibility. I quite liked the idea of having a ‘responsibility’! Reason being I was the youngest among five of us, and my mum or my eldest sister (ten years older than me) got to do such things. So I persuaded my mum and went with her and brought home some vegetables which I had haggled! My mum was happy.

Years fast forward and domesticated life in big cities lead me to visit supermarkets and I literally started dreaming of markets full of greens, piled up vegetables, shouting vendors and yearned to haggle with them. I mean, literally dreaming!!

It is funny how our native instincts stay buried in us, and I find myself haggling with vendors in the local market when I visit our small town of Anand, and suddenly realising the cost of those vegetables are only 20 p a kilo if I convert it into our currency here! and I feel shameful and get on with it.

On my recent visits to rural Thailand, Cambodia and most recent Burma, I soaked myself in the ‘markety’ atmosphere, watching every vendor and their buyers’ reactions, the variety of different local produce and at one moment, secretly hoped I could start haggling!!  Here are some pictures of those markets…

Oman and the ‘karak chai’

_mg_7616Oman, was our short break destination this easter, a country not on a favourite on the list for many

We had a well planned itinerary covering some best parts of the country geographically –  beach, mountains, valleys and desert, but still not knowing what to expect!  Our driver was informed of my husband’s photographic needs throughout the trip, and was also told that we did not want booked lunches and dinners, mainly so we could explore the local canteens and cafes. Our driver was happy with both our requests.

Our first stop through the Muscat highway soon after being picked up from the airport was to have a good cup of tea –  didn’t turn out the cuppa we are accustomed to!  Our driver stopped in front of an empty looking kiosk and asked us ‘’ you like karak tea’’ don’t you??, puzzled initially, and assured soon after as he shouted to the local café owner, ‘’ two karak chai’’!

So, what is this ‘’Karak chai’’ – very interesting as the word ‘karak’ is derived from ‘kadak’ which is a hindi word, meaning ‘strong’ – With generations of Indian subcontinent migrants living in the Middle-east , the Kadak chai is now diluted into Omani household as ‘’Karak’’

Loose tea leaves brewed with cardamom, ginger, cinnamon individually or all as a mix and a good amount of condensed sweet milk makes this popular drink in Oman an everyman’s drink in all weathers.  This was our entry into Omani hospitality!

Accompanying the karak chai, was Omani bread, which didn’t look much of a bread but rather a pancake –  Fermented flour batter poured and converted into a pancake came to us filled with cream cheese. Was told by the driver that this was an ideal Omani breakfast and any time of the day snack – right he was as it satisfied us as we headed to our first destination of the day – ‘Wadi’ –

Cutting through heavily folded rock, with pretty streams and swaying palms nestled in their beds, the wadis of Oman are a major attraction, visited by toursits and locals alike. It is a unique environmental system characterised by wealth of natural attractions. Within this fertile environment, people have lived in the wadis (valleys) of Oman for thousands of years.

We started our walk through the valley – wading through clear, very warm and shallow streams, waters slowly turning deep. With full sun upon us, we were soaking into the beautiful nature. So were the local Omani families who were seen having their lunches and enjoying their day off. We passed one such family, we said hello, they acknowledged very enthusiastically, and in a few minutes, there we were, sitting and chatting with them! The lady spoke good English, and offered us Omani coffee, dates, water melon and their four children were all excited – we were even offered to stay for their lunch , fish which was being barbecued – this was so heartening, warm, friendly and open, just like the country , and also  made me think, would we offer our lunches, teas to tourists at Christchurch meadows??!!

First blog post

SAM_4278After much deliberation and day dreaming, I have finally decided to pen (not quite, it is keyboarding!) anything and everything about my cooking, whether it is homely dinner for two, or cooking for friends, my grand children or my cooking demonstrations and courses.

Each one of the above cooking session is different in terms of menus, quantity and variety, but one element remains the same – my passion at that moment, and my frame of mind, which is usually on a plane level – I go on to a meditative mode, and don’t know why!

Other experiences I would like to share here, of course about food,  is when I   travel.

Local cuisines, markets and what and how people around the world eat is on my agenda when we plan a holiday, be it Scotland, or Cambodia!

So let me start with my photo diary, please do go on to it, and see for yourselves . Some of them have  stories behind, and some pictures reveal it all!  The above picture is when I took over a “tea stall” when travelling in Gujarat, India and the stall owner offered me a job!! He made fresh samosas for us while we wet around the Narmada dam. You can’t get fresher food than that. I have numerous stories like these, are you interested?, then do follow me, leave comments, suggestions and requests below.

Thank you and enjoy!!