Kerala Tour an Unforgettable Experience

Kerala Tour

One among the ten paradises of the world, one among the 50 must visit places by a world tourist National Geographic travel magazine reports. Which is this place? You must be wondering. Any guesses?  Yes you are right, none other than gods own country India. The fabulous scenic beauty of Kerala – something really mesmerizing and unforgettable.

Dear reader, take a writing pad and pen to note the unique places in gods own country that is really worth visiting. You will not get these details from any of the travel portal.

As your flight descends down you can see the beautiful greeneries. In the center of this thick greenery your flight will have a smooth and safe landing. That evening move towards the marine drive, take a walk through the musical walk way, near the Queen of Arabian Sea. The cool evening breeze will make you fresh and the 3 kilometers walk will make you hungry.  Have your dinner from THE Puttu restaurant near Palarivattom, where you can get Kerala’s unique dish called Puttu (steam cake made from Rice flour). Go back to you room and have a nice sleep.

Journey towards the natural heaven on earth called Munnar

Start your journey by 8 am from Cochin. On the way you can see a beautiful water fall at Cheeyappara. There you can enjoy the cool tender coconut drink with drizzling water droplets from water fall, which make you fresh. This is a good break point, almost at the mid-way towards Munnar. Once you reach Munnar move towards Rajamala (called as king of hills). On your journey towards the top of Rajamalayou can see many Neilgris Tar (Varayadu), a unique breed seen only in this area of Munnar. These animals come very close to you. Please don’t touch or disturb those wild animals. You can click couple of selfies with them, if you want. But don’t post on FB.

Next place is Vattavada. This is not a common place, where the regular tourists visit. On the way, you have to cross 5 KM through forest. Where you can see, wild buffalo, peacock etc, if you are lucky you can see a bunch of wild elephants grazing.  Please ensure that you don’t disturb them. If you disturb them, your journey many end there and reach home faster with an RIP note. This journey is awesome. There are only a few home stays available in Vattavada. The best place to stay is Casagree home stay.  Casgreen is a beautiful house, at the top of a small hill. You can enjoy the authentic traditional Kerala home food there. They will arrange the campfire and Barbeques on your request. Next day you can enjoy the sunrise from the top of that hill, sipping Munnar tea. If time allows, you can visit the vegetable gardens, strawberry gardens and taste fresh tender carrot and strawberries.

House Boat ride through Kerala Back waters.

Board your pre booked house boat. Take a comfortable seat in the balcony of the boat and relax, your journey starts now. Here you will get to see beautiful s ceneries which you would have never seen before.  Shops moving in the boat, approaching each house in the riverbank selling domestic goods. Unique shops in boat seen only in Alappe back waters. You can try fishing using the fishing rod from boat. House boat will stop near the markets, where you can buy fresh tiger prawns, Crabs, fishes etc. The cook in the boat will prepare it for you, with Kerala spices.  You can visit the villages and see the local culture.  You can taste the sweet Kerala natural liquor (Called Toddy). Enjoy the wonderful night with your loved ones either on the deck of the boat seeing moon or in the AC rooms. Next day when you get up, you will be welcomed with Kerala traditional breakfast .After breakfast move back to Cochin City.

Evening, Beautiful sun bath in queen of Arabian Sea.

In 40 minutes from cochin city you will reach the most beautiful and sexy beach in Kerala called Cherai Beach . Here you have various hotels of your choice and budget. Enjoy the beautiful sun set, sipping the beer of your choice with fresh seafood starters. Next day morning, go for a walk in the beach before sunrise. Take a very light breakfast and move for a full body Kerala Ayurvedic massage which will relax the entire body. This will relieve the body ache and tiredness due to the previous day journeys and make you fresh.

As you are mentally and physically refreshed to cope up with the every challenges, now board the flight to back home with everlasting sweet memories.

Thank you!

Thanksgiving Day 2016: Thursday, November 24

Thanks Giving Day

Thanksgiving is a great time to be thankful and appreciate “whom you have” & “what you have”. It is a time for families to meet, socialize and enjoy each other’s company. Thanksgiving Day is held on 4th Thursday of November every year and it is a National holiday in the United States of America. So, if you are going to be anywhere in the world towards end November then it has to be in the US. A busy country takes time off from its hectic work schedule to chill, wine & dine and spend time with their families and friends. Based on my experience, almost the whole country literally shuts down and gets down to the serious business of merry-making.

The families meet on this day and prepare their favorite dishes like Turkey, Pumpkin pie, sweet potatoes, bread rolls, corn bread, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and so on…served along with cocktails and wines. Of course food and wine is the mainstay of every big festive occasion and Thanksgiving season is no different.  But, sometimes you stop and ponder if Thanksgiving is all frivolous.  I did a bit of digging in a library and also on the Internet and found out that this tradition is steeped in history every inch of the way …

It all began in the year 1621, when the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians held a feast to celebrate the autumn harvest – one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations which was organized by Governor William Bradford. He invited a group of Native Americans including the Wampanoag chief Massasoit. This festival lasted for three days. However, it came to be known as Thanksgiving much later. Governor Bradford sent four men on a “fowling” mission in preparation for the event. The Wampanoag guests arrived bearing five deer. Many of the dishes were likely prepared using traditional Native American spices and cooking methods while missing out on pies, cakes or other desserts which have come to represent today’s feasts.

Thanksgiving Day started becoming a holiday since 1817 in the state of New York although American South remained largely out of this tradition. In 1827, the magazine editor and writer Sarah Josepha Hale, the famous author of the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”—launched a campaign to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday. For 36 years, she published numerous editorials and sent several letters to governors, senators, presidents and other politicians. President Abraham Lincoln finally acceded to her request in 1863 and decreed that Thanksgiving be observed as a holiday on the final Thursday in November.  In 1939, Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday up a week in order to kick start sales during the Great Depression. Finally, in 1941, the same president signed a bill to revert Thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday in November.

Many big cities and towns hold a Thanksgiving Day parade, the most famous of which is the Macy’s parade in New York City and this is the one I shall recommend most. The three-hour event features floats, costumes and huge helium balloons in the shape of cartoon characters including Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Snoopy the Dog and Felix the Cat. These shall take your breath away by its sheer color, size and grandeur. Last few years have seen the debut of Pikachu of Pokemon fame, Paddington Bear and Thomas the Tank Engine.

Playing and watching American football is one of the longest held Thanksgiving traditions. NFL, college, high school and amateur teams have always played over the Thanksgiving weekend practically since the time this game was invented.  Thanksgiving Day is easily one of the biggest days in the football calendar. But, I would personally prefer spending my time outside mingling with the crowd of merry Americans than idle away my time just being a couch potato.  End-November being just the onset of winter ensures pleasant climate which allows one to enjoy being outdoors doing all kinds of things. For the overworked few like myself, I also treat Thanksgiving as a long holiday to take a break from work and routine …



“I sometimes fancy that Rome–mere Rome–will crowd everything else out of my heart.” This dialogue from a play outlines Rome. The city has so much to offer and is so beautiful that it will surely crowd out everything else from the heart. Its rich history, romance, great food and incredible art work will leave you spellbound.

While walking towards the Colosseum, you will be transported back in time. Romans would dress up in their finery to watch the fight of the gladiators.   You would walk in the same arena and look behind to see the cells from where a gladiator used to enter. The Colosseum was made solely for the entertainment of Romans. To kill or be killed. Historical names that probably didn’t have much meaning to you before will become common parlance. Although much of it has been destroyed over the years but what is left is enough to cause a great deal of fascination.

Rome is a city of fountains. Many sculptors over the years have added mysticism to this city by making art work in the form of sculptured fountains all around it. It would however be advisable to take the fountain tour in the night as against the day, since the beautiful lighting will give you more reasons to admire them.

Triton Fountain is a good starting point. This fountain has a peculiar being at the centre, half man, and half fish, called a Triton as per the legends. From there, the Piazza Novona is at a distance of about a kilometer.Novonadepicts rivers from 4 different continents, and illustrates an octopus being seared by a god. It has 4 different fronts and is quite unique in its architecture. It is visual treat to amateurs and architectural experts alike. After the Piazza Novona, make you way to the most beautiful fountain of Italy, Fontana de Trevi. The fountain is so spectacular, that whether you see it for the first time or are a regular visitor, you are bound to lose a breath. This is also the biggest fountain of Italy. The mighty Oceanus sitting atop a chariot of Oyster shell and is surrounded by exotic beings like the nymphs and the tritons. A few years back, Ferragamo commissioned a 2 million dollar restoration project for the Trevi. The lighting was re done and is somagnificent now that it would make you see every inch of the fountain very noticeably. The water is very clear and the coins give it a shiny,sparkly feeling. Yes, don’t forget to throw a coin in the fountain.  It brings good luck. Enjoy the view with big cones of homemade gelatos. There are several shops near the fountain that serve a multitude of flavors.

The next day set out for the Spanish steps. It would probably be a bit of spoiler when you find out that the Spanish steps are actually just that- Steps. It has anexquisite charm to it though. It always has a horde of people sitting around, enjoying a little sunlight with a cold beer. At the end of the steps is another lovely fountain, Fontana Della Barcacia. The place is actually within a shopping street and still is so well placed that the whole setting of the steps, the fountain and the shops, would seem incomplete without each other. You are bound to lose track of time here, so best is to keep the day easy and enjoy the place.

A few days of soaking in the Italian sun, should prepare you for the big day-Visit to the Vatican. It is a Country within a City, with its own laws and army. It would be advisable to buy a two day Vatican pass before you land in Rome. It will save crucial few hours of standing in the queues.

This is the most important museum here and in the world. Vatican City houses the Pope. But that part is little restricted. Unless you are very lucky, chances of catching a glimpse of the Pope are thin. What are available for viewing are the History and the beautiful hand work of some of best painters and sculptors of their time. There is a huge hall full of hand woven carpets, covering space from roof to floor. Each carpet depicts a story and is carved in a way that the story guides your eyes from one scene to the next.

The paintings of Raphael are another part that will stay with you for a long time. In one of the painting a school of Athens is represented. Pythagoras is sitting at the steps in a corner of the painting, Plato and Aristotle are each engrossed in their work and the great Socrates is walking down the corridor. The sheer magnanimity of the thought behind the painting is enough to blow the mind away. Vatican has numerous beautiful fresco’s. Each so beautiful that they captivate you with their beauty. Every painting and fresco calls out to you. The colors and though behind the paintings and sculptures, keep you engrossed.

After a quick lunch at the museum Café , head to the Sistine Chapel. This is the most prized possession of Vatican. The Chapel is so beautiful and pristine, that it leaves one awestruck. Every inch is beautified with imagery. There are several stories depicted from the Bible. From ‘Adam and Eve’ to the ‘trials of the Moses’. It is however the ceiling that has been the fancy of generations of people. Michelangelo was no doubt one of the most famous sculptors of his time. As per some stories, he had earlier declined the offer of painting the ceiling and it was a little later that he agreed and started to paint. Sistine chapel became his masterpiece. The ceiling is painted so skillfully that it gives an impression of natural daylight, within an enclosed room. The ceiling has ‘the last judgment “as the main painting. To date, this place has enormous importance. It is under this ceiling that the papal conclave is convened and the new Pope is chosen. The feeling of sitting here, catching a glimpse of the history of over 500 years will be an experience that will stay with you forever.

Vatican also has one of the best museum shops that you might come across. They have everything from small mugs, to coasters, original photos of paintings, scarves with painting prints and so on. You might want to load up your forex cards before you start to splurge.

There is so much more to see and experience in Rome. It has that quality to it, which always leaves you wanting to see more. Every building, big or small has history and modernity encompassed in it. You might see a beautiful old building with old roman architecture and enter, only to find out that it is the new Apple store. Rome does this to you. It takes on the new and moulds it. So, in the end , it is neither new nor old. It’s just Roman …





Travelling to Germany within the next 30 days? Then, don’t miss the Oktoberfest which starts on September 17th and ends on October 3rd. Oktoberfest is the Germany’s famous fest and one of the world’s largest fair which lasts for a full fortnight or more.   Year-on-year, the visitors’ crowd has been increasing and currently stands around 7 million people who come from all over the world. The amount of beer consumed during Oktoberfest is around 1.98 million galllons- that’s enough to fill around three Olympic swimming pools. This is a must visit festival for beer lovers who can enjoy the specially brewed beers from Späten, Augustiner, Paulaner, Hacker-Poschorr, Hofbräu and Löwenbräu and others. Even for those who are not beer guzzlers, there are choices likewine, champagne and other spirits which shall help you rejoice.

This fest started as a marriage ceremony between Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese on October 12, 1810. The ceremony was such a hit that it was later decided to be celebrated every year and it has been a popular practice since then. The fest ground is around 4,20,000 sq. area and named after the princess  as “Theresienwiese Grounds” which is located in Munich, Germany.

The Oktoberfest shall be inaugurated by Munich mayor on 17th September by tapping the first barrel at the Schottenhamel Tent, saying  “O’zapft is” meaning “It’s open”. Then you can buy your beers at your respective tents and just raise your beer glass to say “Prostl” (cheers) or “ZumWohl” (to your health”. On the first Sunday  a Traditional Costume  and Riflemen’s parade is held through Munich which starts at 10 AM and usually  lasts for 3 hours. More than 7,000 performers participate over a 7-km parade route. On 22nd September, a traditional religious Oktoberfest mass is held.  On 25th September which is a Sunday, a Traditional concert of the Oktoberfest brass-bands shall be conducted at the feet of the Bavaria. The fest concludes with traditional gun-salute on the steps of the Bavaria monument.

You shall have a packed day as the Oktoberfest usually starts at 10 am and ends by 10:30 pm. There are 14 main beer tents of which 6 tents are big enough to handle around 12,000 people per day. Getting entry into these tents is quite difficult unless there is some reservation done before hand. To know more about the reservation process, visit

There is a Bucket List events package which includes at least 1 beer tent reservation with 2 beers (1 liter) along with 1 food voucher. Of course, there is more than 1 beer tent reservation option available with additional charges. There are only six types of beers which are available and each bottle of 1 liter usually costs between 8 to 10 euros. traditional Bavarian foods are available aplenty along with other foods and soft drinks at a reasonable price.

The entry to the Oktoberfest is free and there are special days for families where all the rides and performances cost less. Besides beer and food there are ample rides and carnival games surrounding the tents along with special events, open air music concerts etc. You will see many localities in the fest with traditional attire and occupying most of the tents with families hence reservation of the tents is inevitable. Also learn few German words and how to pronounce few German dishes so you know how to manage with the non-English waitress and other locals just in case. There could be certain unavoidable discomforts when you have to wait for long time in the queue to use public toilets because of the huge crowd. Though the security is very tight please ensure ladies and children are always accompanied.  The fest is always a hit and people do enjoy a different atmosphere all together as you get to see many people from different countries and the way the fest is enjoyed and you will definitely cherish each and every moment of it.

There are many other interesting places nearby which you can visit when you are in Munich like Englischer Garten, Nymphenburg Palace, Munich Residenz, BMW Welt & BMW Museum, Olympiapark, New Town Hall – just to name a few.


Funny Jargons and Nicknames – All in a day’s work

Funny Jargons and Nicknames

A jargonis a technical terminology unique to a particular subject and typically known to only a particular group of persons who are in that profession.  To the rest of the populace, this shall be incomprehensible or plain gibberish.

Trade Jargon or Nicknames are common place in any profession such as in computer field where “CPU” is a term for Central Processing Unit or brain of the computer. In medicine,“NPO” is the term for a patient should not take anything by mouth.  A business jargon called “sweat equity” means getting a stake in the business instead of payor a “Chief cook and bottle-washer” means a person who holds many varied responsibilities.

Police have their own jargon called “Code Eight” which is a term that means officer needs help immediately or a “Code Eleven” which is a code that means the individual is at the scene of the crime.  I am sure you have heard political jargons like “left wing” and “right wing” and even Internet jargons of today like CYA meaning “See You Around” or LOL meaning “Laugh out Loud”.

Believe me, Currency Traders and Foreign Exchange market players go one step further.  They have jargons like “currency pair” which denotes the cross-rate between two currencies. However, wait till you hear some of their quirky nicknames for the currencies and currency pairs they trade in.  “Aussie” is a very common term for the Australian dollar (AUD), with AUD/USD often called the “Aussie-dollar”. Two recently-coined nicknames are “Barnie” and “Betty”, with “Barnie” being used in reference to the USD/RUB pair and “Betty” being a nickname of the EUR/RUB pair.

One of the most frequently used nicknames in the foreign exchange is “Cable”, which refers to the GBP/USD pair. The term can be traced back to the mid-19th century, during which time the exchange rate between the two currencies was transmitted across the Atlantic Ocean via a submarine communications cable. The term “Cable” is sometimes used to refer to the pound sterling (GBP) as well.

The term “Chunnel” is an abbreviation of the “Channel Tunnel” connecting Britain to France and is used to refer to the EUR/GBP currency pair. “Fiber” is the nickname of the euro. It is believed that the term originates from the fact that the paper used for euro banknotes is made of pure cotton fiber. The term “Fiber” is sometimes also used to refer to the EUR/USD currency pair.

Gopher/Guppy/Geppyareall three terms which are used to refer to the GBP/JPY pair, with “Guppy” being the most popular of the three. A popular term in the foreign exchange market, “Kiwi” is used in reference to the New Zealand dollar (NZD). The term derives from the kiwi bird, an indigenous species which represents the national symbol of the country. This bird is also depicted on the one-dollar coin.Another popular nickname among traders, “Loonie” is used to refer to the Canadian dollar (CAD), mainly due to the image of a loon that is depicted on the one-dollar coin. “Ninja” is the nickname of the USD/JPY pair and “Yuppy” is a nickname for the EUR/JPY pair.

– Excerpts about Currency Nicknames taken from

One day in Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia is one of the favourite holiday destinations for Indians due to its affordable beaches and proximity to India. There is something for everyone in this small island nation which is surrounded by pristine beaches. Kuala Lumpur is the capital city and is also known as KL. Over the years, KL has  developed as a stop-over destination for long flights to Australia, New Zealand and other nearby destinations. So, if you are travelling to one of these countries and have a stop-over in KL then you should  make the most of it.

You can start the day by catching airport express to KL Sentral and visit Petronas Towers. The steel architecture of the twin towers and the bridge adjoining them are something to be marvelled at. Be sure to reach there early in the morning to avoid long queues. Entire tour will take around 45 minutes and this will surely leave you mesmerised.

For shopping enthusiasts, one cannot expect anything better than Suria Mall which is situated right below the Petronas towers. It has all the famous brands and you  can spend a whole day  checking out all the shops. On the top floor of the mall there is an amazing food court with fine-dine options also available. Be sure to  carry enough local currency  to make the most of your shopping appetite as using your credit card might inflate your bill by almost 4-5%.  One of the attractive options these days is to carry a pre-loaded foreign currency card which works just like your credit card but  helps you save on the currency conversion costs.

Another major attraction in KL is the Chinatown market. It is  only a  15-minute drive from KL Sentral. This is the  place for people looking to buy souvenirs and strike other bargain deals. You can get everything from sunglasses, clothing, bags, shoes and tattoo parlours. This area starts  buzzing with life around noon and gets into full action by night time.

Trip to KL is not complete without a visit to the BatuCaves. These limestone caves are bit far from the city and one can either take a private vehicle or taxi or simply take a  train from KL Sentral. It takes around 30 minutes to reach there. These are limestone caves of Hindu Gods. They rise almost 100 meters above the ground level and one has to climb 272 steps to reach the main set of caves.

Once you finish exploring the Batu Caves, you  can catch a train back to the airport. And your day in KL comes to an end although your heart yearns for more . This is the best itinerary one can fit within  one day in KL .  To enjoy all the sights and attractions at KL, don’t forget to purchase your Malaysian Ringgits before you leave India.

Travel essentials for next vacation

Travelling With Kids

With the space allotted by airlines getting stringent, the need for a travel cluster is most imperative. A cluster is a mix of 10‑15 items inclusive of garments and accessories that go well with one another. The need to mix and match and be innovative with your closet gets in the forefront.

Having understood a cluster, there are a few key pieces that go in it. Before planning one needs to understand the climatic conditions of the travel location and few other basic things we often tend to miss. Considering its summer now and you might be gearing up for an off beat holiday, we need to create an all season vacation cluster.

It is essential you understand the mood, season, and location. Beach requires quirks, neons and prints, whereas the mountains call for urban, earthy colour tones.

Patterns are easy to mix and match and so are neutral, so have a blend of both. You can team a nice olive green with maroon and also a beige, so while you plan your trip to a hill station or for winters keep the colour palette in your mind. At a beach or a summer vacation, you can experiment with a blend of colours, like a powder blue with magenta or a sunny yellow with a mint green, even coral’s make a great option.

Selecting your fabric is also a primary criteria. The fabrics need to be favourable for every weather. It should ideally be light to carry and good to feel. Carrying thick fabric for a summer spot will spoil your plans entirely. One needs to be wise enough to pick out a dress or a shirt not focusing entirely on its style but rather its utility.

Now that you are aware of which colours you need to select and the type of fabric you need to wear, don’t get stuck in a rut and get fixated only with what is in vogue. Take along jeans, dungarees, shorts, skirts, shift dresses or even maxis. It is far easier to team your attire with a pair of blue jeans or a vibrant pair of shorts rather than having 10 different outfits for a five-day holiday. However, if you are a smart shopper, then it won’t be an issue to trick your cluster with in vogue clothes that are also highly practical. For instance, an off-shoulder frilly top can be teamed with your high-waisted jeans as well as a pair of floral shorts. Same is the case with carrying a pair of culottes that can be teamed with a formal shirt, a summer top or even a round neck t-shirt.

Once you know how to pack, toss in the following to have a cohesive wardrobe to travel with: