• Sigiriya Rock from Pidurangala Rock
    Asia,  Blog,  Sri Lanka,  Travelogue

    The attempt on Pidurangala Rock

    I travelled to Sri Lanka for the second time over the New Year holidays. This time instead of the coast, I opted to explore the wonders of the interior – Kandy, Ella, Dambulla and on to Sigiriya. The initial stairs leading up to the top of the rock (Photo credit: Neel Mitra) Like everyone else, I initially Googled best things to see in Kandy, Sri Lanka and ‘Sigiriya Rock’ came up on every list. Hardly surprising, as Sigiriya Rock or ‘Lion Rock’ is one of the island’s most revered and popular destinations. It may seem to be a large rock formation at first, but it is much more. The rock…

  • The sand dunes of Hunder
    Asia,  Blog,  India,  Travelogue

    The sand dunes of Hunder

    When you visualise deserts, chances are the first visuals that come to mind is the vast emptiness of the Sahara, with its extremely hot temperatures, or closer here in India, the famed Thar desert. Until I ended up in Hunder, in the Nubra valley. An oasis in the midst of the sand dunes I’ve seen plenty of photographs and friends recount their experiences travelling through an area marked by a stunning lake, beautiful monastaries and mountains that simply take your breath away. Sand dunes with the mountains as backdrop However, nothing prepared me for what I experienced in Hunder, about 150 odd kilometers from the capital Leh. Nestled within the…

  • Sri Kailasanathar Swamy Devasthanam
    Asia,  Blog,  Sri Lanka,  Travelogue

    A splash of colour with your prayers

    It’s Colombo’s oldest Hindu temple, having stood on these very grounds for more than two centuries. It’s also one of the most beautiful and colourful temples you will see. This is Sri Kailasanathar Swamy Devasthanam. Entrance to the temple (Photo credit: Neel Mitra) The first time I remember seeing colourful temples was when I was travelling through the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu as a kid. The, many years later, on visits to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, I did see the local temples there, making for a beautiful mental picture with their bright colours against the blue sky. Until I landed in Colombo. A statue of Ganesh adorns part…

  • The Little Princess
    Blog,  Europe,  Hungary,  Travelogue

    The princess and the tram

    Budapest has plenty of things that make it a delightful city to visit. One of them must be an innocuous statuette sitting casually on a railing along the Danube promenade, right in front of the track on which the famed Tram # 2 runs – the Little Princess. The palace in Buda As seems the norm these past few years, I found her quite by chance. Walking along the promenade between Elizabeth Bridge and Chain Bridge on the Pest side, I initially spotted Tram # 2, ranked as among the top 10 tram rides anywhere in the world. While I didn’t do the journey, hopping on the tram gives you…

  • View of Latin Bridge in Sarajevo
    Blog,  Bosnia and Herzegovina,  Europe,  Travelogue

    Luck by chance

    They say that history flows like a river. If that be the case, then nothing sums up the tumultuous history of a region, and the world, like Miljacka river that flows beneath the Latin Bridge in Sarajevo does. A tram chugs along Obala Kulina Bana For a river its size, there are several bridges across the Miljacka river. Unless you know exactly which bridge you are looking for, it can take a bit of time. Which is what happened when I went looking for the Latin Bridge. Without any thought or plan, I set out looking for the bridge, and instead chanced upon another discover – the Festine Lente, which…

  • View of the bridge with the academy in the background
    Blog,  Bosnia and Herzegovina,  Europe,  Travelogue

    Make haste slowly

    It measures 38m long, has an unusual loop that runs right in the middle and best of all, is designed by three students. Go take a walk on the Festine Lente in Sarajevo. View of Festine Lente bridge I was looking for the Latin Bridge. The same bridge that brought Sarajevo into the limelight and had the whole world at war with itself in 1914. Not like it is hard to find. On a good day, expect to see curious tourists milling around the bridge and the building wall close by. Surprisingly, it was this other pedestrian bridge that caught my fancy. The Festine Lente, or looping bridge. It translates…

  • Plaza dancing outside a shopping mall in Shanghai
    Asia,  Blog,  China,  Travelogue

    Plaza dancing

    A walk through the streets of Shanghai can throw up a lot of surprises, especially in the suburbs, away from the main tourist areas. Like an open-air dance session in full flow in a public sidewalk. Shoppers on the streets of Shanghai I frankly didn’t know they have a term for it – Guang Chang Wu. It’s also called plaza dancing or public square dancing and has been very popular among the middle-aged throughout China since the 1990s. Public square dancing The routine is simple. The neighbourhood gather around at a park or, in this case, a large public sidewalk, and dance through well-choreographed routines as music plays in the…

  • The Sea-to-Sky corridor
    America,  Blog,  Canada,  Travelogue

    From the sea to the sky

    Often, the journey is a lot more interesting, and beautiful, than the destination itself. One such journey is the legendary Sea-to-Sky corridor. Views of Howe Sound on the Sea-to-Sky corridor Chances are, if you are driving from Vancouver to Whistler, then you will find yourself cruising on the Sea-to-Sky corridor, or British Columbia Highway 99 (BC 99). While the two points are roughly about 120km apart, it has some of the most awe-inspiring scenery I’ve seen so far. So, a drive that would ordinarily take an hour and a half at the most, takes that much longer. With landscape as beautiful as this, it is hard not to make a…

  • Milda
    Blog,  Europe,  Latvia,  Travelogue

    For Fatherland and Freedom

    It’s been a landmark in Riga for close to a century. She’s a symbol of Latvia’s freedom and independence. And she’s affectionately known as Milda. View of the Freedom Monument as you walk from the Old Town While the Old Town is what many tourists come to explore and experience, a short walk outside and you can see a bit of Latvian history, literally towering over you. And if you time it well, watch a change of guard done with such precision, it’s an attraction all by itself. Guard of Honour The Freedom Monument It towers over the city, sitting between Old Town and Central Riga. It was built in…

  • The Three Graces
    Blog,  Europe,  Travelogue,  UK

    The Three Graces

    When in London City next, make sure to catch two installations around Piccadilly. While one is obvious, the other one is something you will need to crane your neck up to and is a lot more interesting – The Three Graces. Statue of Eros outside Piccadilly Circus station On every visit to the city, having passed through Piccadilly Circus so often, I have barely ever noticed my surroundings, absorbed as I am with the throngs of people that come here and other worldly distractions. Until one summer day, on my last visit. Taking a break from all the window shopping, I stepped out of one of many stores and decided…