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Archive for the ‘India’ Category

Quirky International Places To Spend Valentines Day

January 31st, 2011 by

While roses, candy and a romantic dinner are the staples of a Valentine’s Day celebration, more adventurous couples can make this romantic moment more unforgettable by spending it in an unusual or even outrageous location.

Here are six quirky places to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Loveland, Jeju Island

Photo courtesy of steveslep.

Jeju Loveland, South Korea

This sex-themed park was developed by businessmen in Jeju Island, a popular getaway for honeymooners. By displaying all sorts of erotic statues all over the park grounds, newlyweds and other lovers can get ideas on how to spice up their own love lives. Visitors can choose among several hotels in Jeju and visit many other sights that enthrall both lovers and families alike.

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9 Sights to See in Bangalore

July 14th, 2010 by

Heading to Bangalore, also known as Bengalaru, for the first time? The incredible Indian city is packed with a distinct blend of old-world culture and modern tradition. Located in a pleasant climate, the historic city began to attract major industry during the late 1980s and has continued to grow ever since.

talkad temple - thanks to jishnu

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Top 10 Indian Bread

April 22nd, 2010 by

Unleavened flat breads are a mainstay in the diet of the peoples of South India. These are customarily made from whole wheat flour (atta) and baked on a hot iron griddle called tava. Other forms of bread are ideal for snacks and appetizers, while others are specially prepared for festivals.

Here are 10 Indian breads you can indulge in the sub-continent:

Photo by scaredy_kat:

  1. Samosa - a popular vegetarian street food, made from spicy boiled potato stuffing inside a crispy flour dough and served with some flavorful chutney. The patty shell takes a triangular, semilunar or tetrahedral shape. A non-vegetarian variation is stuffed with spicy ground meat (usually lamb), while the sweet version is filled with sweetened reduced milk. Samosas are a perfect companion to a cup of tea.
  2. Roti - an unleavened flatbread made from atta flour. This staple of Indian tables has a thinner version known as chapati. Commonly served with curry or cooked vegetables and spread with ghee (clarified butter), roti is an accompaniment for many dishes.
  3. Papadum - Spicy, cracker-like tidbits usually served as appetizers in Indian restaurants. Raw papadum are prepared from black gram bean flour or rice flour with salt and peanut oil added, and resembles semi-transparent plastic, falling to pieces at the slightest touch. But when placed briefly in an oven, it turns opaque, become sturdier and form little bubbles on the surface.
  4. Paratha - one of the most popular unleavened flat-bread in the county, made by frying whole-wheat flour on a tava. This flat-bread is commonly stuffed with vegetables like boiled potatoes, radishes or paneer, a kind of South Indian cheese. Toppings for paratha include butter spread, chutney, yoghurt, pickles, and thick spicy curry.
  5. Naan - a thick, leavened flatbread that is baked in a tandoor, or clay oven. It is usually served hot and used to scoop other food.
  6. Puri - made of atta dough and salt, puri is fried in oil until it puffs up with a light golden color. Frequently served during breakfast, this puffy bread is also a mainstay during special ocassions and religious holidays.

Photo by suchitra_prints

7. Kulcha - made from maida flour, mashed potatoes and lots of spices, which are rolled into a flat round shape and baked in an oven until it is golden-brown.

8. Malpua – fritters or pancakes served as desserts or snacks. The batter is made from crushed ripe bananas, coconut, flour and milk, and seasoned with cardamoms. The batter is there deep-fried in oil, and the result is dipped in syrup.

9. Puranpoli – a traditional sweet served during auspicious occasions and important festivals. The cover is made from atta or maida while the stuffing is a combination of jaggery and cardamoms. Puranpolis are often dipped in milk that flavored with almonds or pistachio.

10. Gujiyas – a pastry composed of a flour-based cover stuffed with khoa or mawa mixed with assorted dried fruits. Khoa is a milk product made by heating milk until it turns solid. This delicacy is prepared during the festival of Holi.

In India, it is acceptable to use break off pieces of flat bread to gather food and sop-up sauces and curries. While it is important to eat with the right hand only, the left hand may be used to hold the bread while the right tears into it. Use the fingers to tear enough of the bread, fold it and scoop an adequate amount of side dish with it. The best time to eat bread in India are during festivals such as Deepavali and Holi, when delicacies such as malpua, puranpoli and gujiyas are served.

Bathe Yourself in Color at the Holi Festival

March 17th, 2010 by

The Holi Festival, also known as The Festival of Color, is an annual event held in primarily Hindu countries each year. Often seen celebrated in places like Nepal, India, and Bangladesh, the festival is usually held in late February or early March and marks the end of the winter season.

Holi Festival- Gopal Kite Shop

The Holi Fetival is incredibly important to Hindu culture. In societies where caste systems still separate people based on economic status and race, the Holi Festival is considered a time where all people can commune together, taking part in the fun and fanfare that comes with more than two weeks of colorful celebration. Read the rest of this entry »

India’s Most Beautiful Beaches – Part 3

July 29th, 2009 by

Still exploring the beauty that is India? There are a few more sites to add to your list of India’s most beautiful beaches before you return to your homeland. White sandy beaches? Check! Crystal clear waters? Check! The only thing missing right now is you, so make sure you head towards one of these amazing Indian beaches for even more fun in between sightseeing tours throughout the country.

Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Andaman and Nicobar Islands India
The islands of Andaman and Nicobar are some of the most beautiful and unique in all of India. Here you’ll find beaches that are relatively untouched by modern civilization – on tropical islands where commercial beach resorts and damaging crowds are very few and far between. These secluded islands will afford you a number of opportunities to relax in solitude or, if you choose, get to know some of the area’s colorful marine life.
Andaman and Nicobar Islands India

Some of the most popular beaches on the islands include:

  • Radhnagar & Vijaynagar Beach – This beach is perfect for environmentalists looking to enjoy nature in a completely unpolluted environment.
  • Karmatang Beach – Karmatang Beach is a great destination for those who want to get close to some of the area’s wildlife. The turtle nesting ground here is fighting against tourism for survival.
  • Corbyn’s Cove And Chirya Tapu – These beaches are perfect for vacationers looking for a place to simply kick back, enjoy the sun, and bathe in the picturesque sea.

Gujarat Beaches

Mandvi Beach-Last snap of Fakhrumasaji

The beaches at Guajarat sit along what is known as the longest coastline in India. Start your journey here with a trip to the beaches on the island of Diu where you’ll enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery on the west coast of India. Head back over to the mainland for over 1,600 kilometers (approximately 994 miles) of warm sandy beaches, cliffs, and wildlife.

Nagoa Beach

Some Gujarat Beach favorites include:

  • Ahmedpur Mandvi Beach – This incredible beach is a popular spot for locals, tourists, and fishermen. Here you’ll have the opportunity to either participate in a number of different water sports or visit with some of the area’s local wildlife.
  • Somnath & Veraval Beach ­- The beaches at Somnath & Veraval are home to one of the area’s most famous temples. The beaches, while wonderful, are part of a very busy resort town and commercial fishermen spend a great deal of time here as well.
  • Gopnath Beach - Gopnath Beach is perhaps the most popular Gujarat Beach, serving as the summer vacation home for the royal family. The beach is surrounded by amazing cliffs, is home to some distinct species of bird life, and will offer you some of the most amazing views of the coast you’ll ever lay your eyes on.

Family Beach Destinations

If you’re traveling with children you’ll want to make a special effort to find some of the area’s most family friendly beaches. While it’s easy to book a room in a resort hotel you will find that there are dozens of other cheap hotels in India, many of which are within walking distance of the coasts and their beaches.

Chowpatty Beach

Not sure where to start? Begin by exploring some of the beaches in Mumbai. Here you’ll find several popular beach resorts on Marine Drive, Juhu, and Chowpatty Beach. All are located in safe areas and are the perfect place for you and your family to enjoy the waters by day and take leisurely walks on the beach under the evening moonlight.

The beaches near Orissa, featured in the first part of our journey, are also great for families. The beaches at Puri and Konark will afford you and your family the opportunity to not only relax in the sun but to visit some of India’s most important temples as well.

Camel on Puri Beach

No matter where along India’s coasts you end up you’re bound to find at least a handful of beaches to keep you occupied throughout your journey. Make sure you leave some time in your busy schedule to relax and enjoy some of the beautiful coastlines Mother Nature has to offer in India!

Gorge On Six Delicious Indian Sweets

July 1st, 2009 by

Indian food is quite popular outside the subcontinent. Several  cities all over the world now have Indian restaurants that serve Indian food which is almost as good if not better than the Indian food that is found in India itself. Given this wide ranging popularity of Indian food, it is rather surprising that  Indian sweets haven’t managed to secure the  kind of widespread appeal that dishes like ‘chicken tikka masala’ and ‘tandoori naan’ (the most ordered dishes in Indian restaurants anywhere) seem to enjoy.Indian Sweets

One of the reasons for this according to me, is  that the quality and taste of these sweets  is very different outside the borders of the Indian subcontinent. Perhaps these differences stem from the ingredients which are used in the preparation of these sweets. Most Indian sweets are made with ample amounts of milk, ghee (clarified butter) and sugar. These ingredients though widely available outside India, have subtle differences in taste and texture which perhaps contribute to the differences that arise in the finished product as well.

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India’s Most Beautiful Beaches – Part 2

June 17th, 2009 by

A while back we uncovered some of the hidden gems along India’s coastlines in our post about India’s most beautiful beaches. Believe it or not, there are dozens of other beaches to choose from and we’re glad to let you know where some of them are located. Prepare yourself for more fun in the sun and sand as you explore the east and west coasts of what can only be described as a diverse and eclectic continent!

Lakshadweep Island Beaches


The Lakshadweep Island area, also known as “the Laccadives,” consists of a group of 36 small islands scattered throughout the Arabian Sea. Only 10 of the islands are populated and a mere two are open to the public to enjoy. The beaches on Bangaram and Kadmat are especially popular and the shores and lagoons off of the islands are a much sought after destination for divers looking to enjoy exotic wildlife. Visitors to both islands enjoy not only diving but wind surfing and kayaking as well.

Maharashtra Beaches

The state of Maharashtra is littered with incredible beaches and resorts. Maharashtra is not only well known for its beaches but for its heritage and history as well. Visitors often enjoy tours of the coastal forts found in the area as well as their time spent on the beaches.


Image Credit: Gauravonomics

Some of the most popular beaches in Maharashtra include:

  • Madh Island Beach – Madh Island Beach is a hot destination for those who love throwing beach parties and picnics. Set in an urban area, the sandy beaches are littered with incredible bungalows where visitors traveling from Mumbai and the surrounding areas can relax in between parties.
  • Juhu Beach – Juhu Beach is considered amongst the largest beaches along the Arabian Sea and is always packed with visiting tourists. The beach is considered one of the best places for those visiting the city of Mumbai to hang out.
  • juhu beach

  • Baseein – The beach at Baseein is a historic destination, known for being the location where the Marathas defeated the Portuguese. This beautiful beach, which was once a shipbuilding area, is considered one of the best places to go when one wants to simply get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Juhu Beach, Mumbai

Tamil Nadu Beaches

Tamil Nadu is the southernmost state in India and every beach has its own form of elegance and charm. Some of the beaches are great for simple relaxation while others are hot spots for movie shoots, surfing, or boating.
india kanyakumari4 vivekananda rock memorial and thiruvalluvar rock

What beaches in Tamil Nadu should you visit?

  • Marina Beach – In the Chennai section of the state you’ll find Marina Beach. This particular beach is thought to be the second longest in the world and its golden sands and incredible surf draw tourists from around the world.

Marina Beach

  • Elliot’s Beach - Elliot’s Beach is a hot destination for those who’d like to catch a glimpse of some of India’s hottest stars. If a movie is set in Tamil Nadu you are almost guaranteed to see a scene being shot on this beach.
  • Elliot's Beach

  • Kanyakumari Beach­- Kanyakumari Beach sits in a unique location where the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal, and the Indian Ocean all meet. This astounding site is an incredibly romantic place to catch the sun either as it rises or sets.

Marina beach, Chennai

Pondicherry Beaches

The beaches at Pondicherry are some of the most serene and relaxing in all of India. On these beaches you’re more likely to see individuals and families relaxing in the sand and water than you are to see lively parties that last long into the night.


Image credit: Melanie-m

Some of the best beaches in Pondicherry are:

  • Serenity Beach – Serenity Beach is true to its name. The warm sands will welcome you after you take a quick swim in the beautiful turquoise waters. Relax in the sun or in the shade – it’s up to you.
  • Karaikal Beach- Karaikal Beach is popular amongst those looking to enjoy some quiet time on the water. You’ll often find kayaks and canoes dotting the shoreline. This beach is a bit more active – often hosting small volleyball games or welcoming fisherman looking to grab their next big catch.
  • Paradise beach - footsteps on the sands of paradise beach

  • Plage Paradiso – Plage Paradiso, also known as Paradise Beach, is an amazing destination for those looking to enjoy a real tropical experience. Take a short cruise out into the ocean and you’re destined to see some of the area’s dolphin population at play as you soak in the warm sun.

Agatti island beach resort, Lakshadweep, India

India’s beaches are some of the cleanest and most refreshing in the world. Make sure you ask the concierge at your hotel in India where the closet beach is.  You’ll find that the trip is well worth the extra effort.

India’s Most Beautiful Beaches – Part 1

May 27th, 2009 by

Feeling sun-deprived? Believe it or not, both the East and West coasts of India are littered with beautiful beaches. On the West Coast you’ll find the Arabian Sea while on the East Cost you’ll find the Bay of Bengal. Each coastline is full of picturesque beaches, spectacular sea resorts, and incredible vacation opportunities.


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Ride Like Royalty Aboard The Palace On wheels

May 21st, 2009 by

Indian trainDespite what the movie Slumdog Millionaire shows, not all of India is swamped in squalor. After all, what other country boasts of a train ride fit for a majarajah? The Palace on Wheels combines at least three things that India is renowned for: the world’s largest rail network, the elite lifestyle of its former monarchs, and the rich heritage of buildings and structures still existing today. Following the trail of history in Delhi, Rajasthan and Agra, this touring carriage is reserved only for those visitors with simple needs: only the best will do for them.

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Mango Madness In Mumbai

April 25th, 2009 by

As the month of March gives way to the month of  April, people who live in countries which have long hard winters usually look forward to the advent of the season of spring with much eagerness. However in India, it is not the change of season that excites the populace during this period, for the Indian subcontinent located as it is in the tropics doesn’t really experience the drastic change in seasons as do other countries. All over India and especially in the country’s financial capital of Mumbai, people eagerly look forward to the end of the month of March as it heralds in the Indian mango season which usually extends until the end of May and early June.The King of Fruit

Indians are extremely fond of the this juicy and heavenly fruit which appears only for three months of the year ,when the many mango trees whose long and narrow shiny leaves are otherwise used as accouterments in Indian  religious ceremonies get heavy with their precious bounty. India is the world’s largest producer of mangoes and it produces many varieties of this soft and juicy delight which is absolutely adored by much of its population.
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Season Greetings!

Japanese TempleFrom castles to shopping malls and business districts, Sendai is vibrant and fast paced but this bustling city also boasts the name of “City of Trees” for its tranquil parks, the Hirose-gawa River and the beautiful zelkova trees that border the city’s streets. Bellhop Picks: Read more about other attractions in our Japan guide. See what fellow travellers have to say in the Japan tales section.
  • Polls

    Top 5 Romantic Spots in Asia

    • Palawan, Philippines (39%, 182 Votes)
    • Boracay, Philippines (36%, 168 Votes)
    • Bali, Indonesia (31%, 143 Votes)
    • Agra, India (18%, 84 Votes)
    • Batangas, Philippines (17%, 79 Votes)
    • Male, Maldives (16%, 77 Votes)
    • Jeju Island, South Korea (16%, 75 Votes)
    • Sentosa Island, Singapore (15%, 72 Votes)
    • Krabi, Thailand (13%, 60 Votes)
    • Macau, China (10%, 49 Votes)
    • Halong Bay, Vietnam (7%, 34 Votes)

    Total Voters: 467

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