10 Things to Never Do in Italy For Peaceful Vacay.

One of the youngest countries in Western Europe and Shakespeare’s favourite, Italy boasts colourful history, dynamic culture, delectable cuisine, canal-laced cities, and museum-packed streets. Packed with the most number of UNESCO sites in the world, Italy offers a trip of a lifetime. It comes as no surprises that this is the fifth most visited country in the world.

Like all other foreign nations, Italy has a set of protocols too. There could be things that are accepted in your home country but could create problems in Italy

1. Carrying a heavy luggage:

If you have a habit of reckless packing with anything and everything in your suitcase, then you might have to look into the matter. Because Italy doesn’t favour someone with a heavy suitcase. You will come across uneven streets, steep hills, many pedestrians walking around, and even have to cross bridges. There are remodelled historic building with staircases instead of elevators. Also, with limited concierges, you will have to lift the bag on several occasions, for example, while getting on a train or at hotels, unless it is the 5-star suite.

Photo by Craig Adderley from Pexels

2. Ordering Latte for coffee:

Latte in Italian translates to milk. So, if what you are looking for is a cup of coffee, never say Latte. Instead, use the term ‘cafe latte’. For espresso lovers, you can just say coffee — because Espresso is the only coffee that you get throughout Italy. For other variants like Americano and cappuccino, please be specific. For your information, Italians don’t find coffee desirable with a meal in the noon, and thus, you’ll have to hop into a bar.

3. Boarding trains without validating the ticket:

Travelling on trains in Italy is simple with the regional ticket that doesn’t have a time, seat or date on it. Thereby meaning that you can buy it early and use it for the upcoming two months. The only thing you need to do is validate the ticket before boarding. Most of the travellers have a hard time remembering this process. So, you must set a reminder, look for a machine nearby at the station, and validate the ticket before you go for a filmy train trip.

4. Not knowing the local language:

Italians do speak English. But that doesn’t mean you won’t give an effort to learn even the most basic words in their native language. We are not saying to learn the complete Italian language, but it seems friendly to know greetings and phrases in Italian, like hello, good morning, goodbye, please, thank you, etc. and use them while you’re there. So, as you get the Italy Visa , make sure to mug up a few helpful words on the go.

5. Expecting a lavish breakfast:

Well, there is no doubt that the pizza, pasta and gelato are legendary here. Breakfasts aren’t! Breakfast in Italy is not a huge, delicious spread. Most of the Italians sip espresso with a bite of a sweet dish like cookie or waffles and kick start their day. Even hotels with breakfast offer scarce continental options. Few restaurants have decent breakfast menus such as sliced meats, pastries, cheeses, eggs and bread.

6. Wearing short, revealing clothes in Church:

Italian churches are amongst the best tourist places in the country featuring important arts that will fascinate you. These places will have posters/ boards asking visitors to avoid wearing short or shoulder-baring clothes. You will find that the maximum area of Europe does not wear shorts as common as Americans. The least you can do is cover the shoulders with a scarf and wear long trousers; the best you can do is to follow the rules and dress appropriately. 

7. Buying bottled water:

Italy has safe, hygienic and clean tap water. During your excursions, you can always go for the tap water, or refill your bottle. Most cities in Italy have public fountains scattered around where you can fill up a water bottle multiple times for free. It can help you cut down the budget as well. In restaurants, there is no such concept of tap water, so, whatever you choose from still or sparkling, you will have to pay for it.

8. Standing in the line at tourist places:

There are iconic attractions in Italy, from museums and galleries to monuments and cathedrals. With your Schengen Visa and skip-the-line tickets, you can tick off landmarks like the Colosseum, Vatican Museum, Leaning Tower Of Pisa, Uffizi Gallery, and Michelangelo’s David. Save your time by booking these entry tickets online as during the peak season the waiting time could extend up to 2 hours. With no extra money charged, you can whiz past the mile-long queues and explore the destination without hassle.

9. Tipping/ Over-tipping:

Tipping is like mathematics. It always needs analysis, especially in a foreign land. Although Italy is quite straightforward and doesn’t consider tipping as a customary practice, you can offer a decent amount. You can leave a couple of euros on a casual dinner or spend 10 per cent on good service. Some restaurants will add gratuity to your bill, so do check so that you do not double tip.

Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels
10. Getting freebies:

All those souvenirs that come free of charge look so appealing. Especially when there is a smiling salesman or a costumed vendor who approach you from the front with their unique gestures. You will find flowers, bracelets and other little items. But, remember it is not a gift and you might be duped. So, be wary of these freebies while walking.

conclusion:

Italy is a great country with abundant things to do and see. Just do not make these mistakes and it will be a splendid holiday.

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Want to earn while traveling? Here’s your guide.

Everybody wants to travel and explore the world. People want to go all around the globe and actually find where they belong the most. But only some of us are capable enough to do it, or adventurous enough to do it. So how can you travel and still earn money while traveling?

Freelance:

Freelancing online is the most amazing option if you want to earn money while traveling. You can use your skills for a better purpose and earn money while traveling. If you happen to be a designer who can work remotely or a writer who can work remotely. Freelancing would be the best option for you.

Some of these websites can help you out with a freelance project: Fiverr, Upwork.

Teach other people your skills:

If you know some skills like Painting, Dancing, Singing, or anything that you can monetize. You should use that as an opportunity to teach someone. Use your various skills to conduct classes. These classes can be virtual or local.

Teach locally
Photo by Lgh_9 from Pexels

Make things:

If you are an artist who can monetize their work or their art. Then you can start an online business or set up a local business and sell your products.

Sell your photos:

Websites like Adobe Stock, Shutterstock need pictures on a daily basis. So if you are a photographer you can start selling your pictures on these portals and earn good money out of it.

Seasonal Work:

Volunteer or seasonal work is something you can look into if you like working while travelling.You can volunteer at shelters or get into a seasonal job. These both would get you good enough income for your travels.

Dog Sitting or walking:

Dog walkers are needed in every place. You can get these easily and they would pay you by hours which tends to work in favour of you in such cases.

Photo by Megan Markham from Pexels

Surveys and Market Research:

Surveys and helping in market research would get you good money quickly. You would just have to know which websites would pay you good enough money for your time and opinions.

These are some of the ways with which you can earn while travelling. I hope you liked to learn some of the ways you can earn money and now you can start planning your trips.

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Why is travelling important in life?

Travelling has served as a backbone to the human race to escape from the reality, find peace and explore life. A person should travel enough to understand life, respect different cultures and have a wider thinking horizon.

Reasons you should travel as much as possible:

Sense of power and independence:

When one travels as much as they’re escaping from mundane routine, they’re also getting out of their comfort zones. So, when successfully execute their travel plans, they feel accomplished, powerful and independent.The true essence of power and independence is experienced when one is travelling alone.

How is travelling important in life
Photo by Alexandr Podvalny from Pexels
Managing skills:

It’s not always that things go according to how it’s planned and one needs to manage the situation. Travelling teaches best managing skills, be it expenses, convincing people, sudden changes in plan and everything possible

Trying out new cuisines:

Travelling to new places is like a delight to all the food lovers as they’ll get to taste to food that’s new to them. From street savories to the authentic dishes everything is treat to their eyes, tastebud, stomach and heart.

Understanding diverse cultures and people:

Travelling gives us the opportunity to experience and understand varied cultures and people from across the world. Understand their perspective towards life and helps us widen our thoughts and see life in a different way.

Photo by Adrian Agawin from Pexels
Making new friends:

Travelling connects from people across who don’t know each other and that’s the most beautiful part. We might meet them for one day but their memories going to stay forever. It’ll help you build contacts from different parts of the world.

Learning new languages:

If you have a thing for knowing a greater number of languages, then travelling is surely going to help you with that.

Visiting places that’ll take your breath away:

From beaches, Himalayas to caves and islands, the world has ample number of places which are astonishingly beautiful. Some are famous, some aren’t and so many have not been explored yet but all of them are worth travelling for.

Calming and peaceful:

Even if it’s for a while you’ll forget all that’s troubling you in your daily life and get into the world which is calm and peaceful

Witnessing sunset from different parts of the world:

Sunsets are very important, they’re beautiful, inspiring, and soothing. Sunsets make us believe in hope. If you’re getting to witnessing a sunset from different parts of the world, do not miss that chance.

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5 places to find the best Biryani in Hyderabad

Hyderabad is prominently known for it’s biryani. The Hyderabadi biryani needs no real introduction. It is the staple to the locals and the go-to dish for the tourists.

Biryani has been a part of Hyderabadi cuisine tradition for close to 400 years. they say biryani is from Persia, having its title origin from there only.  Some believe it to be an invention of the Mughal Royal Kitchen, while others say that the DUM concept belongs originally to Bengal.

Like any other food, the biryani has been customized according to local tastes and flavours. Hyderabadi Biryani is characteristically distinct. The aroma, taste, tender meat, everything gives it a distinguished appearance.

Here are some restaurants where you can satisfy your biryani cravings:

CAFÉ BAHAR:  

Café bahar located in Himayat nagar, serves the authentically delicious biryani. The taste, aroma and warmth of it make a direct way to your heart.

Bawarchi Restaurant:

Bawarchi Restaurant, RTC cross roads has the yummiest biryani and satisfies your tastebuds right away. It is the only branch with an amazing ambience.

Photo by alleksana from Pexels
Hotel Shadab:

Hotel shadab, madina circle, famous not just for biryani but also for other authentic dishes like kebabs, Haleem etc. It is must go place to all the biryani lovers. If you’re visiting Charminar then you know, from where to fill your belly.

Shah ghouse:

Shah ghouse, Gachibowli is a go-to for different kinds meat biryani of amazing flavours with authentic spices. It definitely has a “love at first bite” taste.

Pista House:

Pista house has various branches and all of them maintain great standards in terms of taste and ambiance, the quality which makes customers visit them again and again. It serves more amount of meat compared to other restaurants.

Photo by Rajesh TP from Pexels

So next time you’re in Hyderabad and want to satisfy your biryani cravings, you know where to go. In case if you have been to all of these, let us know which one is your favourite?

My experience exploring astonishing Amritsar.

Just a spontaneous planning, two of us, booked bus tickets online from Delhi to Amritsar. It was simple one day tour to the amazing Amritsar. 

Visit to Golden temple

Overnight bus journeys are always fun. Reached Amritsar early morning & as the month was November, it was already foggy & cold. Quickly freshened up at the hotel nearby & moved to the world-renowned, Golden Temple, also known as Harmandir Sahib. What magnetic vibes this place has. We covered our heads first & then queued up in the line to get inside the temple. The premises of the temple is too large to move around, sit in peace & say your prayers to the Almighty. Sikh or non-Sikh, everyone out there was in awe of the beauty of the temple.

The sanctum of the gurudwara is overlaid in gold foil, thus famously known as Golden Temple. For Sikhs, it is said to be the shrine holding the maximum importance of all. There is a man-made reservoir around the temple, which is filled with different types & colours of fishes. The queue moved swiftly & soon we were inside the temple. It’s all the grace of God that we were witnessing him. Spirituality all around & we both felt ourselves immersing in it. This place gives so much of inner peace & calmness.

Approximately 1 Lakh devotees visit the shrine on daily basis. And to serve them a free vegetarian meal, therefore Langar is also served. Anyone hungry can eat the langar with no discrimination based on religion or gender. The Gurudwara is build in a complex mode. Many shops are there selling specialties of Punjab like Sweets, Blankets, Jutis, Dresses, Bangles, etc. 

Golden Temple by Astha Rani
Jallianwala Bagh Memorial

The next destination we moved to was Jallianwala Bagh Memorial. It’s in the same complex as the Gurudwara. Almost each one of us remembers this chapter from History. A black day for India, in April 1919. When General Dyer gave consent for firing on unarmed civilians who were having a peaceful protest for the arrest of two national leaders. Thus killing at least 379 people & injuring close to 1200.

Even today, the mark of the bullets is visible on the walls. There is a martyr well too, where people jumped & drowned to save their lives from bullets. The Jallianwala Bagh massacre is a landmark in our struggle for freedom. An incident that no Indian can overlook.

The whole memorial only makes you think that how innocent lives were lost & how expensive our freedom is. The patriotic feeling was at the peak.
The complex has some beautiful sculptures of Punjabi girls dancing. On the other hand, Men also doing gidha, the folk dance of Punjab, playing dhol. It felt as if Amritsar is showing what Punjab state on whole is all about. Happiness literally reflects in those lovely structures. 

Amritsar by Astha Rani
Picture by Astha Rani
Wagah-Attari border

And now the final & most exciting destination of the day was about to begin. To date, I had seen the beating retreat ceremony at the Wagah-Attari border only on TV, but now I was going to witness it live. So my excitement was at the peak already. As we got to know that only a specific number of people can occupy the place inside, We quickly took a sharing auto & began the wonderful 45 minutes ride to the border. The ride was again a treat to the eyes with lush green farmlands both the side. Clean air & that pure smell of the land was wonderful. As per the signboard, Lahore was only 22  km away.

 Next, we were in the line to enter the stadium & there were multiple levels of checking to go on for each one to keep the security upright. One cannot carry any objectionable stuff inside. Everyone was free to sit at any vacant place. Only first-come, first-served basis. And as everyone sat, the ceremony began. It’s the lowering of the flags practiced daily by both the nation’s security forces.

Since 1959, rarely has been the day when the ceremony did not take place. Patriotic songs were playing on both sides. People shouting slogans, kids & adults dancing in the middle. The ceremony took place for close to 45 minutes. The attraction of the event was the gates opening on both sides for a few seconds & one soldier from each side raising their leg, as high as possible. It is a symbol of two nations’ rivalry as well as cooperation between the two. Wagah border had its own majestic display of patriotism. Now, the sun had set & we had our bus ticket booked from Amritsar to Delhi. We moved towards bus depot & felt satisfied with the visit totally. 


To sum up, Amritsar was completely fun. Therefore a perfect blend of spirituality & patriotism. Certainly, a place which you would like to visit again & again. 

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Goa: From the Cool Breeze to the Amazing Food

I went to Goa with my writer this year in October. People who have been making plans to go to Goa for the last one year, we made that happen only in some days. Honestly, i was super excited for this trip.

Before leaving we had to make the arrangements. This was the time when the water sports had not yet resumed in Goa. Around 2nd October. Like every other person, I didn’t want to stay in North Goa. I wanted to enjoy the Goan Culture rather than go to a club to party. Like any sane person, I chose Airbnb. Our Accommodation was for 2 people in a two-bedroom flat near Varca in Goa.

Day One in Goa:

I was travelling from Belgaum Karnataka and my train was reaching early morning around 6:00 AM. Madgaon was the closest station to my place. The first thing that took me by surprise was that you don’t have any facility of Uber or Ola in Goa. So I took a Bike and my accommodation was already kept open for my arrival. The cleaner that cleaned the whole room.

The caretaker of the property was Pradeep. He had his own restaurant nearby and we could get our food delivered to our accommodation by him. This was a great perk when it came to staying in South Goa. Plus the guy was very helpful.

But because of Pradeep i got the opportunity to visit the Mahendra Club Private Beach where i got to see how Fishermen offload a boat after a hectic day of Fishing. An amazing experience indeed.

Club Mahindra Private Beach at Goa By Ramneek Flora
Club Mahindra Private Beach By Ramneek Florahttp://www.forksnbackpacks.com/photo-gallery/
Day Two in Goa:

Day two started with a good Breakfast at Roger’s . I had steak and mashed potatoes whereas my vegetarian friends had some Tikkas and Manchurians followed with Pasta. This was all accompanied with beers. If you are planning to travel to Goa, remember we could not get any Budweiser Magnum at any Shack or Restaurant. So its better if you stick to Corona, Kingfisher.

Later we explored the Benaulim Beach, we could spot locals enjoying their free time at the beach. You could see everyone at the beach. Someone would be sunbathing or making a castle, whereas some people could be exercising and some could be playing football.

I love beaches and that is why we spent most of our Day sitting at the beach with some chilled beers.

Later we visited the local market around the area to see if we could get something of interest. A souvenir for the friends or family and i could not get that in Goa sadly.

Yummy Steak at Roger's in Goa By Ramneek Flora
Yummy Steak at Roger’s By Ramneek Flora
Day Three in Goa:

So we had already planned which places i wanted to see in North, nd we had rented a car, which again our caretaker Pradeep helped to get. Long drive alert if you don’t like long drives then going from South to North Goa would get you irritated but if you are an adventurous person like me, you would roll down the windows and enjoy the wind.

The drive was long and the radio was great, to my surprise, I could hear all the western songs that I enjoy on Goa’s Radio. Once we arrived in the North, the first thing I wanted to see was The Basilica of Bom Jesus, which was unfortunately closed. So we went to the exact opposite of this place and ended up at St. Cathedral. It was beautiful. Though we only got to see it from the outside because “Covid”. But it was fun. 

Later we went for lunch at Mum’s Kitchen, to be very honest the food was a little overrated. The prawns were good but the tail was not removed from the Body and my friend ended up eating the whole thing. Would recommend this place for the ambience but not for the food. The service was great though. 

Explored some Miramar Beach later and that was it, came back home and slept in. 

St. Canderal at Goa  by Ramneek Flora
St. Cathedral by Ramneek Flora
Day Fourth in Goa: 

Found a really great Shack by the name Cornelio Beach Shack at the Cornelio Beach. Tasty Salad and amazing Omelette. This was the last day at Goa so we wanted to explore the south Goa part which is why we went to Varca Beach, the cleanest beach out of all the beaches I went to on this trip. I found so many seashells there and plus the water on your feet hits different when the sun is setting down. 

Due to the food on the previous day, my friend ended up having food poisoning which is why we didn’t do much this day and we all needed to sleep due to the early morning flights the next day. 

Sunsetting on the Varca Beach By Ramneek Flora
Sunsetting on the Varca Beach By Ramneek Florahttps://www.instagram.com/p/CHb3jBOrKgW/

That was it, the trip ended we all went back home, but we returned with great memories and a memory card filled with pictures. On a personal note we were glad we got Pradeep as our caretaker, he was a super helpful guy and even loved helping us whichever way it was possible. 

On the journey to the mystical festivals of India

We all love Festivals, attending them and even organising them. But some of the communities don’t just go with the normal norms of Festivals. They love celebrating festivals for a cause, with a motive and that is why you should explore these festivals to know what different cultures exist among us.

Hemis Festival: Ladakh

A festival dedicated to the Lord Padmasambhava also known as Guru Rinpoche is celebrated in Ladakh at the Hemis Monastery by performing dance. It is believed that Guru Rinpoche had been born on the 10th day of the 5th month of the Monkey year which was predicted by the Buddha Shakyamuni. This event takes place once in 12 years to follow the steps of the Lord. 

You can hear the beating of drums when the morning ritual “Gompa” starts. The spiritual wail of pipes and portrait of Padmakarpo is put on display for people to worship. 

But it is notable for its beautiful Mystic Mask Dancers. These performances are known as “Sham” performances and are part of the Tantric Tradition which is performed only by Gompas. They worship the Lord in their own way and its the highlight of the festival.

Ladakh Festivals
Photo by Simon Matzinger from Pexels
Jagra Festival: Himachal Pradesh

This is one of the local festivities and celebrations for it take place in different parts of Himachal Pradesh. Celebrations take place in the month of September this event has many rituals. like Fasting after that praying to the village deity. Many places you can also see folk dances and bonfires along with music as a part of the festival.

Pooram: Kerala

Pooram is the temple festivals and it represents the hearts and souls of Kerala. In this event, you can come across such festivities like Elephants on the street and the approving crowd decked up beautifully for the individual rituals. Every temple has its own individual ritual to follow and you can experience all that in these beautiful small festivals.

Pooram Temple Festivals
Pooram in Kerala by Kanaka Yeldutti
Phulech and Fair: Kinnaur

The organization of this fair takes place in the month of Bhadrapada and it witnesses a sprout of monsoons. It is certainly for the flower viewing of Ukhyang in the Kinnaur Valley.

Phulech festival whereas is doe as an act of remembering the ones that have passed away. You can experience the village being decked up with colors, also for the people who love food, you would get good authentic himachali food during the fair and festival.

Jidjed: Kaza

This festival takes place in the Thang Yug Gompa which is an ancient monastery located 13 kms from Kaza in Himachal Pradesh. The main objective of this festival is to protect people from diseases, epidemics and to bring happiness, health and prosperity.

If you want to attend this festival you would need to visit in the month of October.

Himachal Kaza Festivals
Thang Yug Gompa : Photo by Sakshi Patwa from Pexels

These were some of the Unexplored and Mystical Festivals of India through our eyes. Which ones do you think you would explore next?

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Become a Global Citizen with Gemtrack Travel

How often do we hear about travel stories that comprise slow, sustainable and united experiences? Not very often. But Gemtrack travel has you covered with such unique experience stories. In other words, one such story is Global Citizenship.

Gemtrack is all about being responsible for travelling, without hurting the environment and exploring places that are not famous but worth your time. Discovering their culture, customs and the local essence of the destination.

Picture By: GemTrack https://www.gemtracktravel.com/
Concept of global citizenship, gems and destination guides:

Global Citizenship:  A person can become a global citizen through community building at 3 levels: local, national and global.  Gemtrack thrives to seek a integrate exciting experiences with positive impact and exploring slow and sustainable travel.

Destination guides: These destination guides will guide you through your journey. The guides help you from finding accommodation to places where you can find your soul. They also connect you with local changemakers who are dedicated towards sustainability, ethical living and conscious consumerism.

Gem: You can become a Gem for Gemtrack travel if you know your city and your place. besides, You can discover more sustainable options around you and maybe guide people to visit those places rather than going to the same hustle-bustle of the city visited by everyone.

Picture By: GemTrack https://www.gemtracktravel.com/

The six pillars of global citizenship

The Gemtrack explains the six pillars which are the basis of global citizenship:

  • Engaging and exchanging: Coming from a different part of the world, having a chance to know the local community, culture and stories is a deep satisfaction one can ever experience. Connecting to the locals, learning new skills, participating in movements contribute to the collective welfare.
  • Slowing down: having a break from all the pressure of checking out all the famous places and rather enjoying the moment with an immersive experience.
  • Being informed: educating yourself about the local culture, customs, negative effects of tourism. Knowing about the movements and organizations that can bring a positive change.
  • Environmentally friendly choices: preserving the environment of the places you visit and protecting the environment with sustainable choices.
  • Supporting the local community:  by shopping local, local communities would get benefitted from tourism. Ultimately the local economy would earn the benefits.
  • Learning from locals and fellow travellers:  one will learn different concepts, developing new ideas and perspectives towards life when they travel. This way travellers help each other build united, compassionate communities across the world.
Picture By: GemTrack https://www.gemtracktravel.com/
Destinations where gemtrack can guide you through:

Bali Brazil Colombia Goa Guatemala Italy Java Laos Lombok Mexico Nepal Netherlands Portugal South Africa South Korea Sri Lanka Sumatra Sweden.

Therefore when you travel to these destinations make sure you get in touch with Gemtrack and have a slow, sustainable and united traveling experience. And you can also experience how they are making a change, you would get lots to learn from their work.

Above all Gemtrack is making great progress in this world and are working hard to develop the concept of Global Citizenship. Similarly you can take a step forward and help them too.

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Indians and Dal, a never-ending love story


If Romeo and Juliet symbolically -represent romance, then so do Dal and Chawal. This is one of the most comforting foods that Indians are blessed with. It’s the go-to food when you’re sick, it’s also the go-to food when you’re celebrating. All-day, all year, it never fails to charm people with its tasty, healthy and soothing power. Cultivated from the earliest days of civilization, dal is somewhat indispensable to the Indian diet.


India is the largest producer of pulses in the world. These pulses are among the most important staple foods in South Asian countries and form an important part of the cuisines of the Indian subcontinent. Among all those pulses cultivated, DAL represents the dried, split pulses (that is, lentils, peas, and beans).

Photo by Buenosia Carol from Pexels
Dal makhana

Dal makhani or dal makani is a dish originating from the Punjab region of India. The primary
ingredients are whole black lentils, red kidney beans, butter and cream. The dish gets its
richness from the use of cream or butter, but it can also be prepared with yoghurt, milk or no dairy. Nowadays, you find Makhani as a staple in all North Indian restaurants across the
country.

Photo From: https://www.pexels.com/

Dal Fry

Dal fry is a yellow colour soup of lentils which we can cook either with whole lentils, beans or split lentils with or without husk. The altering of flavours can take place with modification in the spices according to our preference. It is an integral part of the main course of almost all Indian families and is regularly present in variant styles. Being a popular north Indian dish, it is also a low caloric nutritious food. This recipe provides a dish which is a source of protein for the vegetarians and provides a good accompaniment with roti, naan bread, rice or pulao.


Mamidikaya Pappu

In Telugu, this khatta dal or sour dal is popular as mamidikaya pappu. Here ‘mamidikaya’ means mango and ‘Pappu‘, means dal. The recipe featured is a family favourite and its as simple as it can possibly be. Mango and tuvar dal are a magical combination. They are lovely on their own, but together, above all, they are a match made in heaven. The tang of the mangoes bolsters the earthiness of the lentils and the garlic infused spiced seasoning lends a subtle savoury flavour.

Photo By: https://www.pexels.com/
Dal Mughlai

It may have originated from the royal kitchens, but this one’s a delight to make in the kitchen as well as a relish. Toovar and chana dals are pressure cooked with chopped lauki, tomatoes andturmeric and mixed well, before a tadka of garlic, ginger and jeera is added to it


Dal palak

This dish is nothing but lentils cooked with spinach & tempered with basic Indian spices. It is a healthy, delicious and one of the most made palak recipes in Indian homes. This simple protein rich dish, we can eat with plain rice, chapati/ roti or different kinds of bhakri (flatbreads)

Photo by Valeria Boltneva from Pexels

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To the Caves of Grishneshwar Jyotirling

One fine day, my mother was planning to go to Grishneshwar Jyotirling. I nodded head in yes, that let’s go some weekend. Its close to 5 hours drive from Pune.
Then, I picked up my phone to check what more places can we explore nearby. It is then my eyes got big with excitement. The world-famous, Ellora Caves, Daulatabad Fort & Bibi ka Maqbara are here to explore. All my history chapters from school started flashing one by one.
With enthusiasm and exuberance, we planned the trip soon.

Started early morning & by 11 am, we were in the temple premises. The crowd was at the peak but since it was organised, we got our turn soon. At this jyotirling, males are not allowed to cover their upper part of the body. We were not allowed to touch the shivling, only darshan & can view the shivling clearly on the big mirrors placed above. We offered our prayers, came out & got the sweet halwa as prasaad.

Photo By: Astha Rani

Next we moved to Ellora caves as it is located close to the temple. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site & has the largest rock-cut monastery temple cave complex in the world.
The first time when I saw the caves, I was like, am I really standing here?

Not even thought in my wildest dreams, that I will ever have the opportunity to see it. The caves were not different from the pictures of a history book. This place required a lot of energy to move all-around & explore architectural beauty. The caves featured sculptures of gods, goddesses & mythologies.
It was a sunny day & walking, made us too exhausted. Old stones with various scriptures & many stories behind, as narrated by the guides there. The part of the monument was constructed by Rashtrakuta dynasty & another half by Yadava dynasty. And to build the monument, royals & traders gave the funds back then. Today it is a protected monument under the Archaeological Survey of India. Finally, we clicked lots of pictures & moved ahead for lunch.

The next beautiful destination was Daulatabad fort. And as it was a fort, too much of trekking, to view the beautiful city, Aurangabad from top. The climb was not flat, so it was again very tiring, but with family around & doing all the fun gossips, it was a such a walk to remember. Daultabad fort had a lot of connection with the emperors I remember till date, such as Muhammad bin Tuglaq of Delhi Sultanate & Alauddin Khilji. After visiting such places, you tend to read about them again & their supremacy.

Photo By: Astha Rani

Last stop was Bibi ka Maqbara/ Tomb of the Lady. Commissioned by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in the memory of his first wife, Dilras Banu Begum.
At first look, you will get a feel of mini Taj Mahal, if you have been to Agra first. Just that, Taj Mahal is more elegant though the structure looked the same. These both monuments share striking resemblance, popular as Dakkhini Taj/ Taj of the Deccan. And its the largest structure that Aurganzeb had ever built.

As it was already evening, cool breezes & greenery around gave us a sigh of relief. By now we were totally drained & there was 5 hours drive back to Pune too.  Bought already cut pineapples near the car parking & wrapped up the visit to this historic city with many wonderful memories.

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