21 Black and White Mumbai City Photos

When I am not “on the road”, my base is Mumbai at my parents house. Naturally, when I am there, I wish to explore and uncover interesting stories. This implies heritage walks, chit-chatting with people from different strata of life, clicking photos and so on. ūüėČ And here are some of these Mumbai city photos! See the same old hustling bustling city in a different light – black and white only!

Mumbai City Photos - Farmer's Market
Farmer’s market near Mantralaya every Sunday morning. Connecting the South Mumbai urban elite to Farmers around the city!

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Mahashivratri Celebration at Isha Yoga Center, Coimbatore

Adiyogi lit up for mahashivratri

Hailing from the urban jungle and mega metropolis of Mumbai I failed to find much purpose or value in Indian festivals. From childhood, I had studied in convent schools and read western authors (Enid Blyton mostly), so I could relate with Christmas but not with Diwali or the religious Jain celebrations at home. But within a few years after graduation, Mahashivratri become my all time favourite and looked forward to festival!

How did this happen?

Only one answer. Isha foundation.

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Vegetarian Hot Pots in Taiwan

vegetarian hot pots in taipei, Like Lotus restaurant

Just a few days back I felt like having a hot pot. It is one of those things that happen after we travel quite a bit, we start thinking of options and alternatives that otherwise may have never occurred to us. So, I have been muddling around about how to make a hot pot at home in India. All the hot pots I have had so far have been in Taiwan.

Earlier I wrote a fairly detailed post about vegetarian and vegan foods in Taiwan. Adding to it, here are the hot pots that I tried out on this lovely island country. Usually the vegetarian food in Taiwan is vegan & without onion and garlic. So mostly, these vegetarian hot pots I have shared below are vegan and Jain-friendly. But it is possible that some side dishes may have dairy.Continue reading

Hiking & Cycling Routes Near Córdoba, Spain

Cordoba’s historic city center is a testament to the times of Roman settlements, Muslim domination of Europe and the later victorious re-conquest by the Christians. It has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. And the old town definitely exudes a character and charm not easily found. But this is not why I chose to spend a few days here. There are many hiking and cycling routes around Cordoba – these were my interest ūüôā

Here are some details in case you wish to explore them too:Continue reading

Botanical Garden in Ajuda, Lisbon

Botanical Garden in Ajuda - ornamental walkway

Lisbon has three botanical gardens as far as I know. Ajuda, Belem and the City Center. The one in the city center was under renovation when I was there. But I visited the one in Ajuda and Belem, they were very close to where I was staying. This post is about the botanical garden in Ajuda. It was the first one I visited and found totally fascinating! And possibly from what I read and hear it might be the best one in Lisbon.

As I entered the garden after buying a ticket from the office building I saw¬†glimpses of a maze-style garden. In the official website of this botanical garden it is called the ‘ornamental walkway’ but I think of it as the maze garden cause it reminds me of a maze carved from garden hedges. ūüôāContinue reading

Solo Hiking Safety: Preparation Checklist

Solo Hiking Safety

I have been on a few solo hikes so far. Three solo hikes¬†in the Himachal near Jibhi. One hike in the Subbetica Natural park in Andalucia, Spain. In general, it is a bit too soon for me to be putting a “Solo Hiking Safety” post. I like to be¬†more experienced about a subject like this before I write about it. But………I got lost on my¬†previous hike in the Subbetica Natural park and had to be rescued! And it got fairly dangerous due to the weather forecast!

My mind¬†was on overdrive for a few days afterwards, trying to figure out why it all became so serious.¬† Failure is a great teacher. And I also realised that there were a lot of things I did right, largely owing to my previous solo cycle touring experience (and the few hikes), which led to an ‘easy’ rescue.¬† So¬†I decided to write this post on potential problems and the solutions for solo hiking (also relevant for group hiking). Also,¬†I don’t think there can be a truly ‘complete’ list for these kind of activities – it is after all the WILD! So feel free to search more if you are planning a solo hike. And if you have suggestions to add to this list, comment and let me know too ūüôāContinue reading

I Got Lost On A Solo Hike & Had To Be Rescued

Solo Hike

I often wonder,¬†I keep talking abt solo travel as being really awesome. And people around me get impressed, think it is so cool and all that. But what happens when a situation develops that is NOT awesome? Am I only rhapsodizing on the basis of all my positive experiences so far? In which case it really takes only one negative experience to over-rule the positives, isn’t it? Or not? Here is one of my most serious – shit hit fan – solo travel experience. And what I think about solo travel afterwards.

It happened in Spain.

Earlier today I got lost in the mountains and not proverbially…..¬†I wrote late into the night. Once I was back in my hotel…. I couldn’t sleep. And blogging has always been therapeutic for me. So this particular blog post has been in writing since that night itself but of course, I have had to shape it up to make it read more coherent.

I was staying in the town Zuheros in Andalucia, Spain. It was the night halt of my second day of cycling the Via Verde de la Subbetica. I had only one day to cycle further but I found information on some cool-sounding, short walks in the hotel reception and so instead of cycling, I decided to hike in the Subbetica natural park instead.Continue reading

Vegetarian Girl in Lisbon

vegetarian or vegan food in lisbon

In general, Lisbon isn’t considered very vegetarian-friendly. This is what the few people who had some idea about it told me.¬†People generally don’t know much about Lisbon because it is not¬†one of the top must-visit cities in Europe. But after spending over 3 weeks here, I wouldn’t really call Lisbon particularly difficult for vegetarian or vegan food. Here is my experience, and if you are looking for vegetarian or vegan¬†food in Lisbon then this should help you out.

Vegetarian or Vegan?

Firstly, to clarify what these words mean.

Vegetarian typically at least in the European sense means foods that are plant-based or animal products (not animals but their products – milks, eggs, honey and so on). It doesn’t include fish, sea-food or any meat.Continue reading

Places to Meditate in Salem, Tamil Nadu

Oothumalai, Salem, Tamil Nadu

Places to MEDITATE. This is my favourite activity (or rather no-activity ? ūüėČ ). Go somewhere awesome and sit and meditate or cycle. Kind of the same. Haha. And one podcast I heard from Swami Tyagananda of Ramakrishna Chapter in Boston, said that spiritual seekers notice a sense of familiarity when they do their practices in a new place. And I have been thinking that my¬†daily yoga and meditation practices in every new place I go to, adds to the¬†experience of the place for me.

This Salem trip was very interesting and one of the first such trips where I met a fellow, senior seeker, chatted about spirituality and he showed me around some great places to meditate. And we meditated a while.

Happy life.

So if you are around Salem and wondering what to see, head to one of these places and meditate a while.Continue reading

Lisbon Oceanarium

I¬†came to Lisbon for¬†some work meetups. And¬†everyone in this work team had to vote for one fun group activity.¬†This is how I landed up at the Lisbon Oceanarium ūüôā

If you are wondering¬†about the difference between Oceanarium and Aquarium (I was *geek alert*) – any aquarium that provides an ocean habitat for its marine life can be considered an Oceanarium. And this is exactly what we get¬†at¬†Oceanario de Lisboa,¬†Europe’s largest indoor aquarium.Continue reading