Temple of the Emerald Buddha - Amazing Thailand

This series is based over my reflections upon visiting Thailand.

Shahjahanabad (Const 1648 CE)- The Legacy of Delhi Series (Vol 8)

'Shahjahanabad' is the eighth post in a series of 9 articles on the former capital cities which were built in the historical region of Delhi. Read on to know more..

Hill Fort of Kumbhalgarh, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Know more about this incredible World Heritage Site here..

The Immortal Kumbh Mela - Mahakumbha of 2013

Believed to be the largest congregation of mankind in the world, read my series of posts to know how it feels like to be amongst a magnitude of people

Guru Dongmar Lake, one of the highest in the world

Few destinations have the ability to change your life; Sikkim being one of them. Check out the series 'Sikim Soujourn' to find out why ?



Friday, October 26, 2012

Picture of the Week #02 - Pamban Bridge

  Picture taken from the Pamban Road Bridge (Picture © Rohan A Singh)

Windows 8 Launch Event (New Delhi)

Yesterday, October 25th, Microsoft invited your author to the launch party of Window 8. It was a gala event where Microsoft left no stone unturned to make it look spectacular.. From hosting the launch party at the city's no 1 hotel to inviting famous TV personalities to explain the salient features of Windows to serving a lavish buffet to lovely dance performances by beautiful artists.. Everything was done in style.

So what makes Windows  so special ? I discussed this question with MS employees, the other consumers who reviewed the product and also checked it out myself to know the answer. The answer was that it is definitely more futuristic as compared to its predecessors.

'Start Screen' of Windows 8

The new features in this operating system were a new user interface which includes the 'Start Screen' with a grid of dynamically updating tiles to represent applications, a new app platform with an emphasis on touchscreen input, a new Windows Store to obtain and purchase applications for the system, and the ability to synchronize programs and settings between multiple devices.

From a traveler's point of view Windows 8 with its new interface can really help in researching about destinations, book tickets and rooms, access maps much quickly than before thus saving you much time. And being a more mobile friendly version it only adds to our advantage.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Chittaranjan Park (Bengali Quarters of Delhi) during Durga Puja

 Last evening I was at Chittaranjan Park (the Bengali Quarters of New Delhi) to witness the Durga Puja (Festival of the Goddess Durga). This festival is celebrated to mark the victory of Goddess Durga over the evil demon Mahisasura. So this festival is celebrated to mark the victory of 'Good over Evil'.

During Durga Puja Chittaranjan Park is in an almost carnival type atmosphere. I visited the Puja Pandal (A temporary structure built to venerate the Goddess) of the Co-operative Park, one of the major spot of celebrations in New Delhi. The streets leading up to the pandal were lighted up with bulbs of different hues.

 The idol of Goddess Durga in the Puja Pandal of Cooperative Park

The worshippers (in huge numbers) were dressed in traditional Bengali attire (Men in either Dhoti/Panjabi or Kurta/Pyjama made of either silk or cotton) (Women in either cotton Jamdani or Baluchari sarees or in silk sarees with the latest designs weaved by tantis (traditional bengali weavers) ! Married ladies also had bangles on their wrists and copius amounts of Sindoor, an orange red powder, on the middle of their head). And yes who could forget the large red bindis on their forehead's !!

The Pandal

Worshipers in front of their deity

Interior decorations of the Pandal

Dhak (Dhols or Drums native to Bengal)

The main pandal in the park which housed the idol of the deity was over 40 feet tall, illuminated in blue lights and was looking heavenly. The interiors of the pandal was also decorated in traditional style. By the time I reached the veneration had just ended and the atmosphere was throbbing with festive intensity. Unfortunately so I missed out on the mantras which are an integral part of Durga Puja.. accompanied by the rhythmic beatings of the dhak (traditional drums), smell of the incense sticks, 'dhoono' and flowers.

After the veneration is over people move on to the other half of the Durga Puja festivities which involves feasting. Their were numerous stalls serving spicy street food native to Bengal in the pandal and people were lining up to savour them. I decided to walk down the street from the pandal and indulge in the Bengali Market of Chittaranjan Park which serve great Bengali Fare.

Food Stalls in the Puja Pandal

This place will be jam packed from today (Shashti-October 20th 2012) till (Vijay Dashmi-October 24th 2012), the final day of puja. 

Five minutes of walking and I was looking around the market for the various stall owners serving Lip Smacking delicacies. Here, I must tell you that Bengali Market is a typical one you would find in Bengal in the sense that the shops sell food items, groceries, raw fish e.t.c. which are usually found in Bengal. The stall owners come and sit only in the evening and it is that period of the day when you should be visiting this market (any time of the year) if you wish to taste delicious Bengali street food.

Shop in Bengali Market selling Tikkas and Kathi Rolls

Phuchka (Gol Gappa) Seller

Preparing Chur Mur

Some of the street food which was on offer was Phuchka (Gol Gappa's), Chur Mur (A sweet and sour preparation of crushed Gol Gappas, boiled and diced potatoes, chopped onions, cilantro and various spices e.t.c.), Ghugnee (dried yellow or white peas cooked with gravy Bengali style, served with bhujiya as topping), Mughlai Paratha ( a delicious deep fried stuffed bread), Chops, Cutlets e.t.c.

Chicken Mughlai Parotha  being shallow fried on the girdle

An assortment of Bengali Sweets on display. Observe the earthen pots at the bottom of the display. It is known as Mishti Doi (Sweet Curd), a heavenly preparation and also my favourite :)

And yes a food binge in the Bengali Market is always incomplete if you don't sample the Bengali sweets like Mishti Doi, Labanga Latika, Komola Bhog, Rossogolla e.t.c. which are uniquely different from what you will find in the rest of India.


Facts you might want to know -
- Durga pujais an annual Hindu festival in South Asia that celebrates worship of the Hindu goddess Durga. It refers to all the six days observed as Mahalaya, Shashthi, Maha Saptami, Maha Ashtami, Maha Navami and Vijayadashami. The dates of Durga Puja celebrations are set according to the traditional Hindu calendar.
- It is celebrated across the predominantly in the eastern Indian states of West Bengal, Tripura, Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, the rest of india, Nepal, Bangladesh e.t.c.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Picture of the Week #01 - Taj Mahal

Picture © Rohan A Singh

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Interactive Session with Travel Writer Monisha Rajesh

The invitation poster for the event. (Clockwise from Left - Book Cover for the India Edition, Author of the book, Description of the book.)
Image Courtesy - Roli Books (Nandini Vaish)

In the pleasant evening of October 5 an interactive session, with London based Travel Writer Monisha Rajesh, was organised at Kunzum Travel Cafe. She is an experienced writer who has just come out with a new book called Around India in 80 Trains. She has also written for the London Evening Standard, The Guardian, TIME magazine and The New York Times. The event was hosted by another well known Travel Writer Ajay Jain.

In the interactive session Traveler Monisha discussed frankly, her experiences of traveling across India in the vast network of the Indian Railways. She also read out excerpts from her newly launched book Around India in 80 Trains (published in India by Roli Books). She revealed that in the process of traveling in the 80 trains she experienced the best quality of India amongst others i.e. the helpful demeanour of Indians.

From helping her to board an already moving train in Gujarat (West India) to offering to make reservations for her (in advance) in Ledo, Assam (East India) the common Indian was very helpful. In some cases the common Indian was over helpful as well and traveler Monisha often ended up choosing from between four to six answers for one question asked! We also learnt the minor fact that by the time of completion of her journey she covered a mind-boggling 40,000 kilometers (24,855 miles)!

Apart from talking about her new book, Traveler Monisha discussed the finer points of Travel Writing and also gave really useful tips to budding writers on how to further their careers in Travel Writing. 

To conclude it all, it was a really great evening for the Travel Writers as they got quite a few tips over the subject. I must also add that my after-session discussions with Traveler Monisha, Traveler Ajay Jain and Ms Krinna Shah (a renowned social activist) were equally enriching.


(In the world of Path Rarely Taken all the Travelers are equal by the virtue of their love of the planet and travel.) (Pictures of the session will be posted soon!)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Qualcomm Snapdragon Photo Tips Session and Photo Walk

Participants (at the base of the monument) photographing the Shish Gumbad

Last weekend (Sept 29 and 30), a two day event was organised by Qualcomm Snapdragon and Kunzum Travel Cafe in which ace photographers, professional bloggers and travelers were invited for a special weekend to discuss photography and also have a photo walk in the Lodi Gardens, New Delhi the next day. 

The group of participants (which included accomplished photographers, editors, tech geeks and professional bloggers) at the Kunzum Travel Cafe on Saturday 29th
Picture Courtesy - Subir Dey

The event commenced on Saturday 29th at the Kunzum Travel Cafe with the participants (which included accomplished photographers, editors, tech geeks and professional bloggers) and Team Qualcomm discussing things of common interest which was photography and the finer nuances of cameras associated with it. Team Qualcomm talked about the creative features of Snapdragon powered mobile phones, its cameras, and how better it was compared to its contemporaries. one of which was the ability of the phone to take excellent 360° panoramic photos.

Participants photographing a flock of Geese near the Athpula, Lodi Garden

On Sunday the 30th a Photo Walk was done in the picturesque Lodi Gardens where the participants carried their cameras, and some smartphones powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon processors to shoot. Various tips of photography were exchanged and the participants spent the pleasant evening shooting the landscapes of the Lodi Gardens and its monuments.