The Perfect Road Trip

The Perfect Road Trip
Runners Up Award- Ambipur Contest

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Madhya Pradesh – The Land of Many Possibilities

Opening address by he Chief Minister at MPTM 2016

The third edition of MPTM (Madhya Pradesh Tourist Mart) was flagged off on 15 Oct after the grand festivities at Jehan Numa Palace hotel on the previous evening. The event was attended by more than 500 delegates from 28 nations including the who’s who of the government, local travel and tourism industry. The Chief Minister of MP, Mr Shivraj Singh Chauhan gave a rousing address to the audience highlighting the unstinted support for promotion and boost to the travel industry. The audio visual presentations and short videos prior to the inaugural speech showcased the best of what the state can offer to the visiting tourists in the state.  Among the various endeavors, some promising ones are enumerated as follows
a)      Offer of world class 300 roadside facilities
b)      Homestays to promote the local culture
c)       Water tourism as there are large water bodies in the state
d)      Encouragement for  adventure destinations by increasing access to forest areas for treks and camping
e)      Heritage experience- Starting with conversion of Minto Hall built in 1909  as a Heritage Convention Center
He exhorted the audience by reminding them that they were present” in the right time at the right place”. The39 achievers in 22 categories were rewarded before inaugural of the mart formally. It was a unique experience for interaction of the buyers and sellers to interwork for mutually beneficial deals over two days.
Later in the evening a display of local culture of dance and music added to the glitter in the sprawling complex of Sayaji Hotel where the delegates were ferried to. It was a treat for audio visual senses and taste buds alike for the audience.

Handicrafts at Sajida Nagar

Heritage buildings at Upper Lake

An early morning heritage walk through the ‘Old City’ of Bhopal was organized by the MP Tourism for the participants to get a feel of the vibrant city of Bhopal the next morning at the onset of dawn. Starting from Kamlapati Mahal, at Chota Talab, it trudged through adjacent Bada Talaba , Shitaldas Mandir, and Gauhar Mahal onwards. The spellbinding stories and history came to life as the enthralled audience admired the Mehat e Shahi, Moti Mahal, Shaukat Mahal, Hira Masjid and Moti Mahal.
Taj Ul Masajid


The largest mosque in Asia  Taj Ul Masajid was next on the list but not before a bite of hot poha, mawa jalebi and superb tea at the famous Raju Tea Stall.
Deicious Poha and Mawa Jalebi- Raju Tea Stall


The tour ended at the Golghar known for a rare collection of paintings  and other artifacts on display. At one time in history it was also used as a bird house. Gold and silver threads were kept and the birds wove a nest out of these. The same was presented  by Shah Jehan Begum to Queen Victoria of England .
Mr Hari Ranjan Rao,addressing the media

The event( MPTM-16) culminated with a very lively interaction with Mr Hari Ranjan  Rao, IAS, the energetic Managing Director of MP Tourism and Tourism Development Corporation. A fitting finale was various FAMTours organised for the particiants to explore the hidden gems of the state..  The ambitious plans have set the course of the travel industry with  increased public participation to take tourism in the land of immense possibilities to a new height.

PS: Thanks to Manjulika of 'Pendown' for the opportunity to collaborate with her blog for MPTM-2016

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Bhopal-An Untold Love Story

Bhopal  the capital of Madhya Pradesh is a vibrant city of many hues. A travel buff like me got an opportunity to explore the lesser and some better known facets of the place during last weekend.The timing was just perfect,coinciding with the Travel Mart organised by the MP Tourism in this week. I would be covering the event on Manjulika's blog 'Pendown'. To learn more about the lovely city go over to

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Lemon Tree

There was a gentle nip in the air as I opened the door and stepped into the backyard garden. The delightful chirping of the birds and the gentle breeze were soothing against a backdrop of the azure 
sky slowly turning crimson. This has become a routine now for many years.

The sight of two lovely ripe lemons that lay on the gravel added to the happiness. The lemon tree had been planted many years ago and had grown older with passage of time. It is like a parent that has nurtured us .What better tribute to my father who was born this day and had loved nature perhaps more than I do. He would take immense pride in showing the garden to the visitors and heaping praise on the quality of yield just as if the progeny had topped an examination. The sight of lemons in the morning is also a reminder that these fruit are a result of hardship and pain that a parent endures. The request for trimming the branches by the neighbors in winter months is painful as the merciless chopping of the additional branches is difficult to endure. The plant never fails to yield the fruit most times of the year, regardless of the trauma we inflict on it. A gentle sprinkle of water on its leaves and branches deposit small droplets of pearls that shine to make each morning a special one that raises the spirits. It is difficult to pluck the fruit without bruising the hands by sharp needles of thorns that surround it. The beautiful song sung by Trini Lopez best describes the beauty of the Lemon Tree. 
The fruit was shared with relatives and neighbors who devoured it with equal glee. The endless flow of the fruit during the season helped in preparation of pickles, juice and chutney for the remaining months. One never feels lonely in such a pristine company.

The pleasure of tending to the plants and trees is unmatched.  It provides an instant connection with the divine. The swaying bushes and flowers with weight of pecking birds and bees are perfect stress busters. As the sun sets in the west the perfect calm returns except for occasional chirp of birds retiring with their families .The magic begins each day without fail with the break of dawn.

PS : Link and images kind courtesy You Tube and Google

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

It's time for Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh is truly the heart of India . Manjulika a prominent travel blogger who has won several awards  and traveled across the country and kissed several foreign shores gave me an opportunity to collaborate on her blog  Pendown for the forthcoming MP Tourism travel mart scheduled in October this year. I gratefully acknowledge her magnanimity for sharing my experiences on her blog as well as represent her for the forthcoming event. To learn more about the treasures hidden in MP read my experiences on her blog.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A Saga of Excellence

We are doing what we are best at! Beating the chest over the spilt milk and engaging in endless debates. You guessed it right. The debacle of Rio Olympics stares at the face of world’s one sixth population with just two medals that too mostly due to individual effort and hard work. Ever since a child fond of sports, the glories of Olympics had drawn me to the games and watch those with an interest like no other. The official assurances of medals before every event were like an assurance of the official machinery fully geared up to meet the calamities like floods, drought and other disasters.

We find it hard to acknowledge that we are not a sporting nation in the sense one is supposed to be. The only game the country plays is Cricket for which there is never a drought of funds. All other sports pale into insignificance. Generations have only played Ludo and Snake and Ladder at home when it comes to sports.

The pleasure of watching Usian Bolt lifting the Gold three times in Rio and repeating the feat for the third time since Beijing and London Olympics was exhilarating. Jamaica had the unique distinction of producing the fastest man Usian Bolt and Eliane Thompson(woman) on the earth, despite its meager GDP. In fact the number of times the runners from countries like Nigeria, Kenya and Ethopia crashed the hopes of much richer and bigger nations, was a perfect example of what dedication is all about and what matters is grooming and encouraging the sportsmen.US team found it hard to digest that their team was technically disqualified in 4x100m relay despite a great performance. The cliff hanger suspense of watching Brazil defeat Germany in ‘penalty shootout’ finals of Football and likewise Argentina beating mighty Belgian team in the Hockey finals showed the mettle of teams participating in these events. Santiago Lange of Argentina  won the Gold medal in Sailing , despite having lost one lung to Cancer last year at the age of 54!There could be no better example of grit and determination when age becomes just a number.

The sensational Simon Biles and Michael Phelps set the Olympic stage on fire with their soul alleviating performances. Born to parents with a history of drug abuse, Simon was picked up early and groomed into a sensational artistic gymnast who won four gold medals and a bronze. Joseph Schooling of Singapore who met his mentor Michael Philips when he was 10 year old, beat him at his own game of Swimming in 100m Butterfly event. He got the first ever Gold medal for Singapore at the age of 21, pushing his mentor Michael Phelps to Silver medal.

The Rio Olympics has been an event not to be missed for the number of records that were broken and exhibition of the finest sports that one can think of. The true sportsmanship was amply exhibited when the losers gracefully hugged the ones who won. Carolina Marin who defeated PV Sindhu in the Women’s Badminton Final was hugged by Sindhu and she in turn was magnanimous to hug even Gopinath the Indian coach after the win. It is rare to see such humane gestures in today’s cut throat world. Such events are a reminder that excellence in any field is what ultimately pays dividends and all else gets lost in oblivion

PS: Image Kind Courtesy Google

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Welcome Rains

Heat waves give way to the dark clouds
  The sunshine backs off and no longer people growl

It has been a long and arduous wait in sweat
   The clap of thunder and raindrops take away fret

The gurgling streams and puddles spill all around
    Torrents of rain and streaks of lightning abound

The respite is soothing as green shrubs have rebound
   Nature has its way to bring happiness beyond bounds

Steaming hot tea and pakoras are such a delight

    No better way to celebrate the drenched nature’s might.

PS: Image Kind Courtesy Google

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Sarafa-Food Trail of Indore

Tasty and yummy food is something that unites everyone regardless of religion, caste, color or creed. There are some who live to eat and others who eat to live. Undoubtedly, the second category far outnumbers the first one. My love for food has taken me far and at times resulted in a change in my travel itineraries. One of my dream food trails is the Sarafa in Indore. From what I read and heard so far, it rubs shoulders with contemporaries like Dublin Beer Tasting Trail, Grand Rapids Food Trail and Sea Food Trail in Scotland.

Sarafa in Indore is a jewelry market by the day and gets converted into one of the biggest mouthwatering eating places by night. The very mention of the varieties prepared there tickles the taste buds. Tourists and locals flock the narrow streets from 8 PM onwards each day. The streets remain lively till past midnight. The delicacies that one can relish here range from Garadu, Nagori Shikanji, Pav Bhaji, Gulab Jamuns, a huge variety of chats, pani puri and icecreams. Some of the must try and must eat savories are listed as follows: 
  •  Joshi Ji ka Dahi Wada- The Joint was set up in 1977 and is currently run by Om Prakash Joshi. The skill and dexterity with which Joshi ji tosses the fluffy soft vada laden with dahi( yoghurt) in air leaves one spell bound. Not even a drop of curd spills out. He decorates it with five spices with a clever play of fingers each time. The end result is a dahi wada which one would not have tasted before, melting in the mouth effortlessly. One has to ensure to reach early to avoid disappointment as by 11 PM he runs out of the offering.
  • Vijay ki kachori-Deep fried golden kachoris  and the spicy  subzi served are not to be missed. The tangy flavor of masala is out of the world. One must be an early bird to catch the kachoris!
  • Sawariya Bhutte ki Khees- He specializes in preparing ‘Khees’ from boiled corn, besan ,coconut, hing, jeera, dhaniya powder, salt. The mixture is fried in pure ghee and the very sight makes the eyes asking for more and saliva literally dripping on one bite.
  • Sawariya ki Sabu Dana Khichdi- This is a simple preparation of sago and is being sold since 1983. Om Prakash Vyas takes pride in this humble creation. This has been a hit since it was first sold.
  •  Ratalu- This is available in winters and is prepared by deep frying purple yam and sprinkled with flavored spices
  • Ganesh Namkeen- Anyone who travels to Indore and does not buy the khatta – meetha namkeen has missed something in life. Ganesh specializes in flavored namkeens like Dry fruit sev, Pineapple sev, Pani puri sev and even Maggi sev
These are just a few of the samples and the list is endless .Without including a few more delicacies like Jaleba( an elder brother of Jalebi), Malpua – Rabri, Coconut crush, a gross injustice would be done. There is a Chappan Bazaar( 56 shops of fast food and chat) in the city besides endless eating joints like Ram Babu ki Paranthe. It is now difficult to hold back and time to dash to Indore!

PS:I am blogging about my dreams and passions for the Club Mahindra#DreamTrails activity at BlogAdda